As the visible tool for the Methodist revival, John Wesley confirmed in his testimony that he had been rescued from the rectory fire. This is because he had been chosen for a particular mission of God. By divine providence, Wesley was rescued through a window by a man standing on the shoulders of another. Church history reminds us that Wesley grew to understand this event as God preserving him for a purpose and referred to himself as “a brand plucked out of the fire.”

Prophet Zechariah echoes Wesley’s experience about the Lord’s demand about Joshua: “Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Indeed, Wesley and Joshua were not “sticks plucked from the fire”. They were not charred pieces of wood that had smouldered into uselessness. They were both identified as a “brand” – an object designed to make a mark in life.’

While the devil wanted to kill and strip Wesley and Joshua of their dignity and purpose, God wanted them stripped of their sins and weaknesses. Joshua was not only rescued or got an ordinary change of garments; he was re-dressed in festal robes, a garment designed only for the High Priest. Joshua and Wesley’s purposes remain unaltered. Just as Wesley remained as a brand plucked out of the fire,’ Joshua was “brand snatched from the fire”, and they both made their marks in life (Zech.3). 

In the book ‘Sojourn of Providence, Sir Edet Amana’s insightful personal reminiscences at 80 provide an insightful testimony that resonates with Wesley’s and Joshua’s divine intervention out of their worst situation as a ‘brand’ instrument plucked out of trouble just as God did Israel time and again. Sir Amana, born on December 11th, 1938, to Teacher James Bidiak Amana and Madam Arit Okon Amana, grew up in the Methodist tradition in which matters about Jesus and His Church took pre-eminence. Based on his brilliant results at the primary and secondary school levels, Sir Amana graduated with a BSc first class honours in Civil Engineering and a PhD in Structural Engineering from Imperial College, London. 

Sir Amana, a Firm Believer In Jesus (FBI), practised the engineering profession in the UK with top London engineering consultancy companies before returning to Nigeria in 1969 to work with Shell BP Petroleum Development Company Ltd. Sir Amana’s lure to return to Nigeria was to see how he could alleviate the suffering of his family and people in Easter Nigeria because of the civil war. Sir Amana brought his work commitment and passion to Shell BP. After three months stay at Government Guest House, Warri, at company expense, Sir Amana decided to move to a rented accommodation at Ughelli. Five months into his employment with Shell BP, he became a brand plucked from soldiers’ fire of bullets, a life-transforming experience. 

 On Saturday, May 10th 1969, in the company of his friend Mr Aret Adams, Sir Amana moved his belongings into his official Volkswagen Beetle car and set out for Ughelli. Halfway to Ughelli, they were overtaken by a small military convoy of three vehicles who chased, pulled alongside, and commanded to stop. Sir Amana said, “As we stopped, three of the soldiers came straight at me, pulled me out of my car and started shouting “rebel, rebel, rebel.” There was a struggle as I held on to one of the attacking soldiers, trying to make sense of what was happening—then bang, bang, bang. From the distance of about two meters, one of the soldiers had opened fire at me with an automatic rifle. Three bullets were released in quick succession. The first bullet hit my thigh, and as I was falling forward, the next one hit me in the abdomen near my navel. As I continued to fall forward, the third bullet narrowly missed my head and hit their colleague in the groin. I fell to the ground, seriously wounded. The bullet through the thigh had shattered my femur. The one through my abdomen missed my spine but pierced my small intestines in several places.’ The soldiers, too, are Shell engineers for rebels. What a tragedy! In a pool of his blood, Sir Amana called on the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue him. In response to Sir Amana’s prayer, one of the soldiers shouted, ‘Finish him with a hand grenade.’ Sir Amana said, “As one of them indeed took out the grenade from the belt around his waist and was preparing to detonate it on me, the commander of the convoy, Captain Adamu Mohammed, who had been enjoying the “show” suddenly jumped down from his Jeep, came and asked me, “are you Dr Amana”? I answered in the affirmative. He then said, “we have made a mistake….”

Sir Amana regained consciousness the following day, on the evening of Sunday, May 11th 1969. His left leg was stuck up in the air in a traction system, and the news of his injury, many said the death was received with great consternation and sorrow. To the glory of God, praise to medical personnel who attended to Sir Amana during his long rehabilitation period; he testified, “My healing was miraculous. The bone had sufficiently healed in six weeks to warrant the traction removal. The surface wounds were also healed, and I was moved by ambulance from Eku to University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan for rehabilitation.’ Sir Amana believed that the incident of 10th and 11th May 1969 was the most significant event of his after my birth. The incident transformed his perception of life and made him stand in awe of the power of the God of all creation. 

Sir Amana, the brand plucked out of the soldiers’ fire of bullets and grenades, resonates with Wesley and Joshua and is true to the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea for the children of Israel to cross over and escape from those who pursued them. Today, Sir Amana is not stuck, plucked from soldiers’ fire of bullets and grenades. He is not a charred piece of wood that had smouldered into uselessness but a “brand”, an object designed to make a make in life, church, and nations through Engineering practice – Amana Consortium, development of Engineering profession in Nigeria, Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAENG), service in Citibank Nigeria, service to Methodist Church Nigeria, Patron to Nigeria Methodist Mission, UK and Ireland, political activities, and Pro-Chancellor, Chairman of the Council, Wesley University, Ondo. To God be the glory.

Prophet Joshua, John Wesley, and Sir Edet Amana present the difference between “sticks plucked from the fire” and “a brand plucked from the fire.” The life challenges did not turn them into charred pieces of ‘wood that had smouldered into uselessness.’ They were identified as “brand” – an object designed to make a mark in life. God is no respecter of anyone. He impartially saves everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. We do not have to do any good work to make a mark in life or to go to heaven. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone. Worthy is the Lamb!