Easter weekend is almost here, and while some of us are excited because it’s a public holiday, others are happy because it’s a chance for them to either renew or strengthen their faith. In this article, I speak to five young Nigerian Christians about what Easter means to them and how it affects their faith.
“I feel a great sense of admiration for Jesus”
My relationship with God is a bit tricky. I believe in God and I love Him, but that’s mostly where it stops. I don’t pray, read my Bible or go to church, mostly because nothing motivates me to do so. I stopped doing all of these things consistently once my parents no longer forced me to.
One of the major reasons I lost motivation was because Christianity and the practice of Christianity were shoved down my throat for most of my life by my parents, extended family members and school. The most frustrating one was school. Tell me why Babcock University thought it was okay to force me to go to church four times a week.
The moment I could, I distanced myself from the religious practices of Christianity, but my belief in God stayed. I wasn’t allowed to explore Christianity by myself, and I think that’s what I want — to get to know God on my terms and at my own time.
I love Easter because it reminds me of the huge sacrifice that Jesus made. Whenever I think about everything Jesus went through — the betrayal, the beating, the crucifying — and the fact that He felt all that pain, I feel a great sense of admiration for Him. Sometimes just thinking about it makes me feel closer to Him to learn more about him. I hope that one day, the desire will turn into action.
Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, without that, there’d be no Christianity. And that’s why I feel like Easter is the best time for anyone struggling in their faith, to get closer to God.
“I went back to God and started to truly learn about His place in my life and started to be more active and intentional about Him”
I like to think of God as my best friend. I trust Him with my well-being, and I look to His word for guidance in my everyday choices. I typically talk to Him throughout my day and devote a portion of my day to praying, studying or praising Him. It wasn’t always like this; I struggled with understanding God for most of my teenage years. I tried to read books that helped, but I still had many questions I couldn’t find answers to. In 2019, I decided to do things my way. I felt like God wasn’t interested in me and I could never meet His standards, so I stopped trying altogether. But then I got tired of doing everything by myself.
In 2021, I went back to God and started to truly learn about His place in my life and started to be more active and intentional about Him. I started talking to a lot of my Christian friends and told them about my frustrations. They were kind enough to walk me through it at my pace and were honest and open with me. I found out that they also had struggles. That made me feel like I wasn’t alone and encouraged me to continue to serve God. I love Easter. Easter helps me focus on the love God has for me, and the sacrifice Jesus made for me. It’s a time for me to rest in His love and take a break from the everyday hustle.
“I believe Jesus understands what I’m going through because He knows about suffering.”
My relationship with God is on the rocks right now. It’s been very cold for the past year. That bothers me because I’m the type of person who needs something to believe in. I still very much believe, I can’t just bring myself to practice my belief the way I’d like to. It might be because I’m depressed and kind of hate my life in its current state.
Sometimes when I’m in the mood for God, I pray, but I know that’s not enough. I know I’m supposed to practice my belief whether I’m in the mood or not. So I’ve been doing little things to push myself closer to God. I try my best to pray every morning. I also have an 8 a.m. alarm that says, “Choose God today.” The alarm is supposed to keep me in the consciousness of God. It’s to remind me to do things like pray throughout my day, think about God and be curious about Him throughout the day.
I’ve had that alarm every day for seven months, but I only started taking it seriously this week. And that’s because this week is Easter. Easter is the origin story of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the reason why Christianity exists. So it feels like there’s no better time than now to work towards a better relationship with God, to choose God, at least for me.
With where my life is at right now, I’m sometimes comforted by the fact that I believe Jesus understands what I’m going through and He knows about suffering. So I don’t feel like I’m talking to someone who doesn’t understand. Which, now that I think about it, is probably all I need right now — for someone to understand.
“My devotion to God and my participation in church activities was largely based on the fear that if I didn’t do those things, I would suffer.”
My relationship with God is great. I understand the nature of His love towards me and the extent of the sacrifices He has made for me. I see him as a father who leads me and guides me.
There was a time when the image I had of God was one who just gave out rules and regulations and expected me to just conform. Then, my devotion to Him and my participation in church activities were largely based on the fear that if I didn’t do those things, I would suffer. There was no conviction behind my actions. But I know better now because I attend a better church, and I understand how to properly study the Bible. I now operate from a place of delight and fellowship.
Easter is vital because it helps me reflect on what Christ did for me. But I don’t necessarily feel closer to God because of Easter. However, I respect that there are seasons people can take advantage of to strengthen their walk with God, and Easter is one of them. I think people feel that closeness to God during Easter because some of them pay more attention to the things of God.
“I’ve always understood that pain and suffering are a part of my journey in Christ.”
— *Tolu, 26
I’m a devoted believer, and I love the study of God. I grew up in a Christian home and was exposed to miracles really early, so I’ve never really doubted my belief in God.
This isn’t something I say as a thing of pride, but I’ve always understood that pain and suffering are a part of my journey in Christ. I’ve experienced pain in many ways, and the strange thing is, pain and suffering have strengthened my faith in God. That’s the benefit of having a transcendent hope: I believe in an eternal God who’ll take my suffering away when I leave this earth.
The essence of Easter is an everyday reality for me. I love Easter, but the essence of Jesus’ death and resurrection is for us to love our lives, acknowledging that reality every single day. Every day for me is Easter.