The other night, I couldn’t sleep. I had come home quite late from work that day, so I decided to sleep a few hours before waking up to write the Message from the Morning Man, but no matter what I did, I just couldn’t fall asleep.

So I went back into the living room and switched on the TV. After flipping through the channels, something on National Geographic caught my eye. It was a fascinating documentary about Giraffes. I like giraffes. They have nice fur. So I stayed on to watch a little more.

The documentary was about a giraffe being born. Now I bet you didn’t know that the mother giraffe gives birth standing up, so the first thing that a baby giraffe experiences is a two-foot fall to the ground. 

While the little thing is still dazed and standing precariously on its wobbly feet, the mummy giraffe knocks it over again. She then waits patiently for the baby giraffe to struggle back onto its feet, at which point she knocks it over again.

Inconsiderate mummy giraffe will keep knocking her newborn down over and over, waiting patiently each time for it to get up, and then knock it over again. 

When the miserable little thing is clearly exhausted and barely standing with its last vestige of energy, mummy will kick it over one more time and then, watch unconcerned as the little newborn digs deep to find some hidden reserve of willpower to rise back onto its feet one last time. After that, she doesn’t knock it over again.

Why this mysteriously cruel behaviour? Simple: in order to survive predators, the first lesson a giraffe must learn is how to get up quickly.

My friends, nature has a way of teaching us exactly what we need to know. That is God’s way of ensuring we are equipped to deal with the hardships of the future. God doesn’t want us to squander the blessings He plans to send our way. He teaches us what we need to learn before He places us where we need to be. 

If He plans for you to be a billionaire, He takes you through poverty first – so you learn to respect your wealth and manage your resources. If He plans for you to be a leader, He first makes you a servant. Ask Joseph from the Old Testament. If God wants you to teach, He first makes you learn. It’s His natural order.

This has got me thinking about the Covid-19 outbreak here in Ghana. I won’t lie: when I look at how this pandemic has ravaged nations with bigger economies and better healthcare systems, I cannot help looking heavenwards and asking, “…abaae, God – ahyɛ da anaa? Look at what we have already been through as a nation. So where from this one too?

But then I remember who I am talking to. The God who turned water into wine, the dead into the living, Saul into Paul, a fisherman into a rock – and surely, just as He has taken the least and turned it into the greatest. That is just who He is. 

We are the afflicted today; we can be the cure tomorrow. We are broken today; we can be the builders tomorrow. So even as our nation is knocked onto its knees yet again, our God is setting us up to be stronger than ever, and when we rise to our feet at the end of this affliction, we shall never fall again. 

So be encouraged. The harder things are for us today, the bigger the blessing God is preparing us for.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I know I’m in for something big – if I can get up just one more time…