The Gilded Cage: by Nkoyo Rapu, Xlibris Publishing, 2011
By Yinka Olatunbosun
Outside medical research, crisis of faith has been discovered as one of the major causes of depression in people. For Christians, faith in God’s word is the pillar of their survival through obstacles in life. Many, in demonstrating this faith had spent days and even months on prayers with the hope of getting solutions to their problems. When these prayers do not yield results in time, they lose faith and sometimes the courage to continue living.
In The Gilded Cage, the author attempts to analyse this phenomenon as well other mysteries of life from a biblical viewpoint. Still, the aim is not to create an addendum to the bible or any other holy book, or to increase the volume of Christian books that already saturate the market, but to bridge the gap between having the knowledge of the bible and applying its principles in everyday life especially in times of trial.
The author, in writing the book, found out that it is very vital for bible stories to have meaning and impact in practical ways in the lives of all and not just Christians. To instil the lessons in each bible story referenced in the book, Rapu simplifies the bible episodes and draws parallels between these and modern-day examples of friends, neighbours and church members who shared their personal experiences with the author to make up the body of the content of the book.
NkoyoRapu, a lawyer and pastor is a multi-talented person who is passionate about social reform and rehabilitation. She has served in the Christian ministry as a co-pastor for 24 years and has written The Gilded Cage as the first in her Lifestyle Books Series. Her different yet co-related encounters with people who have suffered discouragement formed her motivation for writing the book as she pointed out in the preface.
The Gilded Cage is written in an unconventional style, a cross between memoirs and autobiography. The five-chapter book is loaded with fitting quotations from the bible as well as detailed accounts of each referenced bible story for the sake of clarity. The author does not assume that every reader of the book has read the bible but it is safe to presume that anyone who has not read the bible or who has only read the bible in passing will revisit the bible to be sure that those stories were there. The analyses of the bible characters made by the author are very insightful, capable of provoking rational and positive reaction from those who can identify with the feelings and emotions expressed in the book through the characters. Characters such as Mephibosheth, Leah, Sarah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and more are examined for deeper understanding of human and faith in God’s promises.
The ultimate objective of the author in writing the book is to provide hope for the depressed especially those who find the thought of someone encouraging them directly repulsive. Some chapters in the book include songs as well as landscape pictures which in the author’s opinion may have therapeutic effect on the reader’s mental disposition.
In the foreword to the book, Pastor Sam Adeyemi notes some of the issues raised by the author and representational style.
“I read through the first chapter with anticipation, as the author, like a surgeon, skilfully sliced through the first layer of tissues to cover the emotional wounds that many of us carry around. ‘Is a perfect life not the proof that we are blessed by God? She bursts this myth which tends to make people feel that something is terribly wrong with them, or that God has left them in times of crises.
“Our inability to reconcile God’s love and mercy with our pain leaves us so confused and embarrassed so much so that we tend to hide our pain. Some get angry with God. But that doesn’t make the pain go away. It is only when we see from God’s perspective that we see the eternal benefits of our circumstances.”
The book is a non-profit creative effort that is expected to have a curative effect on any who has become down-hearted due to loss of employment, loss of a loved one, lack of marriage mate, barrenness, terminal illness, poverty and all sorts of discouraging situations that can deplete faith in God. Like an antidote formulated to cure multiple ailments, the book attacks the root of disbelief in God’s promises, weakening the effect of the sown seeds of doubt in the heart and finally drying them up to give room for fresh outlook and renewed faith.