The members of the Praise Band had by now become exhausted. They had been singing for almost straight three hours. The groom, Frank, was a band member too. So they had actually prepared to give their own the very best ministration.
But it was now almost time for the reception, yet the groom had not showed up. The congregation was quite restless. Had the groom suddenly forgotten it was his wedding day? Or had something befallen him? Uncertainty was written all over their faces. But one thing that was sure was that he told his friends and the bride, Anita, that he was going somewhere but would definitely return.
The family of the bride were the most worried. Should Frank not show up at all, how would they contain the shame taking Anita back into their house? This morning, Anita’s father and mother had called her to themselves and bid her farewell concluding with some words of advice. And when she was finally set for the church she went and knelt down before them to receive their final blessings. Now how would they take back that which they had given out long ago, though if not physically but in their minds?
Anita was sweating profusely. To say she was uncomfortable was to say the least. She was visibly shivering. What degree of embarrassment! She knew some of her friends envied her greatly. She could, even in her distress, notice some giggling and conspiratorial winks among them.
Because some of them were even older than her and yet no one has come for their hand in marriage. She was getting married to a banker and not just an ordinary banker but a banker with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
But now it seemed everything wasn’t more than a mere dream. A mirage. Only her Chief best, Maureen, was truly happy for her and also felt devastated at the negative turn of events. “Bestie, just calm down. Everything is going to be alright. He’ll definitely show up. Remember he promised to” she encouraged Anita. But Anita was too emotionally destabilised to be comforted by these words.
Frank’s phone lines were all switched off. All attempts to reach him proved abortive.
Some friends had long been dispatched to check him in his house and his usual hangouts. Though it seemed naïve and unscrupulous looking for a groom in those places on his wedding day, they did so to merely fulfill all righteousness.
Meanwhile, in the church, what was meant to be a celebration had turned into mourning and marathon prayer meeting. And the teeming crowd was gradually shrinking. Each going away to spread the news like the biblical Samaritan woman who went out proclaiming: ” Come and see a man who had told me all I’ve ever did” only in their case it was: “Come and see a bride whose groom jilted on their wedding day!”
Anita was by now crying at a top gear despite her family’s and Maureen’s effort to calm her down. She had lost all hope of seeing Frank again. She was convinced he was a pathological liar. Her anger and rage for him knew no bounds. If only she would bump into him someday, she’d use her whole strength to pounce on him until she had inflicted some mortal wounds on him and disfigured his face with some ugly looking scars.
Because of the rumours circulated about by the chief “Amebos”, the church started getting filled up again. Though this time around not with invited guests but uninvited ones.
In the midst of the crowd she could see Steve, the guy she jilted to marry Frank. He was a chain smoker and a womanizer. So, when Frank asked her out and she discovered he was more morally sound than Steve, she called it quits with him. Seeing him now that Frank had disappointed her added fifty pounds weight of shame on her. She wished he was not there. But she was the one who had given him an invitation and insisted that he came. He was not among the uninvited ones. She wanted him to see their elaborate wedding. Their VIP guests and everything.
But now she wished she had not done so. She wished the ground could open up and shallow her up so as to shield her from the mockery of people and her shame. But wishes were not horses, you know.
Luckily, Steve moved up to her and proposed to her right there in the church. To the consternation of the whole crowd. She looked into his eyes and saw love. This is true love she thought. And though Maureen tried to prevent her from accepting the proposal, she ward her off by saying if she still believed Frank was going to come, then let her (Maureen) wait for him and marry him when he came. As for her, she is ready to go with Steve.
After he had put the ring on her finger, he carried her out and into his waiting car and together they drove to the court for a court marriage. And most of the crowd followed them, others left. Only few remained behind.
Exactly five minutes after they left, three helicopters descended on the Church premises and out from one of them came Frank, shinning and smiling in his nicely fitted designers suit.
Nonplussed, the whole church which was now left with only few people ( the faithful virgins) was thrown into a dead silence.
“Sorry, Frank. Anita left just now. She was heart broken you didn’t show up” Maureen wisely divulged as he walked up to them.
“But I knew you were definitely going to come back that’s why I waited. I tried convincing her. But she was too chagrined to listen. I’ll go find her now” she said backing off to leave.
But Frank grabbed her by the hand, drew her closer to him, looked straight into her eyes and said: “You believed in me. You had no doubt I was going to come back.
Though Anita had followed her ex, Steve, for another wedding, you refused to follow her. It’s for you I came”. At this she opened her mouth and eyes in surprise. “Who told him all this?” She wondered. “Actually it was a trial but she failed. I chartered these three choppers to take me and her and her family members to Lagos where we would then take a flight to London. For there is the real wedding venue not here. I only wanted it to be kind of a surprise. So go get your people and let’s go” he said.
“I can’t do this to my friend” she said. You’re her husband ” she rejected.
Frank chuckled and said, “Isn’t she now married to Steve? You commit no crime if you marry me”.He said in a relaxed tone. Yes, he had a point. Anita could not be his wife again. Had she not herself told her to marry him when he came? So she agreed.
When she was finally ready with her people and the their helicopter was about taking off, Anita came running with Steve pursuing her barefooted. She had got news of Frank’s return and therefore wasn’t ready to marry Steve again. But before she reached them, they had taken off already. Frank quickly wrote this note on a piece of paper and threw it down for her. It read:
“Anita, I’m sorry. You couldn’t wait for me. Your weren’t patient. You never truly loved me. You were only looking for any one who was available. Though, Maureen advised you to remain calm, you didn’t heed her advice. Now I’ve taken her. She will be my bride. My wife. I wanted this to be a surprise to you that our wedding was to hold in London not here in Jalingo. But you couldn’t wait. I wish you happy married life with Steve. After our honeymoon in Dubai we shall come to see you guys. Bye! London here we come.” Anita’s heart was pierced. It was on fire.
She fell on the ground and started rolling and wailing. And before she fainted, she gasped and said “So I missed the rapture!”
Jesus has a surprise for you.
Don’t go back to your old life (Steve) because he is tarrying His return. One day He shall surely return.
Don’t run away like Anita. It’s almost time!
Surrender your heart, love, and entire life to JESUS now, tomorrow may be too late.