Amidst rising deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, globally, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, on Sunday said the journey to normalcy had begun.
In the wake of the emergence of the virus which has infected over 2.3 million people globally and killed over 150,000, many nations around the world have effected lockdown and restrictions on movement on citizens to curb the spread of the virus, from which over half a million persons have recovered.
Despite the lockdown, which was also enforced in Nigeria, many continue to die daily as scientists across the globe battle against time to find a vaccine for the virus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December, 2019.
In Nigeria, over 500 persons have been infected while about 19 deaths have so far been recorded even as the federal and state governments locked down large swathes of the nation to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But Adeboye, a former lecturer, who superintends over one of the largest churches, with millions of members across the globe, in a televised broadcast on Sunday, said “the return to normal living will commence in a matter of weeks”.
Scientists have argued that it would take months for a vaccine to be developed for coronavirus and many nations may have to curtail social gatherings and employ stringent social measures to ensure the virus does not do more damage.
Since the lockdown in Nigeria, many church leaders, including Adeboye, whose church headquarters is in Ogun, one of the states under a federal government-initiated lockdown, have held online services with their members since public gatherings have equally been banned.
Ogun, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory have been under a complete lockdown for over three weeks.
Adeboye had, in the wake of the emergence of the virus in Nigeria, revealed how God told him the world would experience a ‘compulsory holiday’.
‘‘I have good news for you. The return journey to normalcy has begun,’’ Adeboye told members on Sunday. ‘’Very soon your pastors will return to their duty posts. I have perhaps one more Sunday to spend with you (televised broadcast), then everything will return to normal.’’
Adeboye, who lauded the efforts of doctors in curtailing the scourge for the past few weeks, however, urged members and indeed the global community to continue ensuring high hygienic habits to ensure the world is not hit by a worse pandemic any time soon.
In Nigeria, he urged the federal government, (which has one of its top officials, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as a member of the RCCG), to always include the clergy in any future committees set up to tackle national health challenges as they were key in helping to contain such outbreaks.
‘’I also advise the government that in the future when they are setting up their committees, men of God should be included,’’ the cleric said. ‘’I am not talking about small boys like me. I am talking about chief imams, arch bishops, others, so they can help them with the spiritual aspect of this warfare. I sincerely hope that we would all know at the end that it is not by our wisdom, our abilities, our planning that has given us whatever victory that we have already gotten. We need to return all the glory to God because as the elders will say, the rain can send you into the same hut more than once. We need to give the glory to God because we don’t want the victory we have won so far to be reversed.’’
Adeboye also said a relapse in the scourge of coronavirus, even after it recedes, is possible.
‘’If you ask any doctor, he (she) would tell you that the most difficult cancer to handle is the cancer that relapses,’’ he said. ‘’We don’t want a relapse of this scourge. Like I said before, this coronavirus, by the grace of God, will recede. But don’t let anybody deceive you. It is not going to disappear 100 per cent. Flu came about a 100 years ago. It receded. Ebola came. It receded. You know very well they have not died completely. Let’s give all the glory to God that He will see that our victory is complete.’’
Even though the continent was perhaps the last to be massively hit by the virus and has so far recorded fewer cases, than other continents, Adeboye said ‘’God will give victory to Africa first’’.
Adeboye’s opinion seems to contradict that of the Economic Commission for Africa and Melinda Gates, which noted that the continent should expect the worst in the coming weeks.
While the global body had said the continent may witness 300,000 deaths, Mrs Gates warned of massive fatalities in Africa if adequate precautions were not taken.
‘’God will give us (in Africa) victory first before it extends to other parts of the world,’’ Adeboye said. ‘’Even after the lockdowns end, any journey outside the country, except it is very essential, postpone it.’’
Adeboye, however, said the coronavirus season would soon end globally and the world would heave a sigh of relief.
Quoting copiously from portions of the Bible which included, Psalm 30 (4-5), John 11 (25, 39-45), Genesis 17 (1), John 6 (5-13), I Kings 17 (8-16) and a few others, Adeboye spoke on the theme: Joy Cometh.
According to him, ‘’weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh to all true worshippers of God’’.
He said God’s desire to all men was to allow them experience joy in all aspects of their lives including marital, physical, spiritual and material.
‘’Death does not have the final say, Christ has the final say,’’ he said. “Sadness does not have the final say, it is the risen Christ that has the final say.’’
‘’Poverty does not have the final say, the all-sufficient one has the final say. Darkness does not have the final say, it is the Light that has the final say. And let me assure you, barrenness does not have the final say, it is the one who made you that has the final say,’’ he added.