The title of Nkoyo Rapu’s debut book “The Gilded Cage” seems rather paradoxical. You just can’t help but wonder whether the fact that a cage is gilded (golden) makes the reality of the confinement or imprisonment any easier to take. So … what’s The Gilded Cage all about? Here’s a teaser from the book: … As you look back at your life’s journey so far, are you like Leah—unloved, insecure and disconsolate? Or more like Laban—the source of everybody else’s confusion and pain? Are you always the author of deception and deceit like Jacob? Do you feel cheated, frustrated and angry because you have been forced to serve seven extra years to see the actualization of your ‘promise’? Are you like Hagar—the unwitting victim of a desperate and impatient couple’s plot, now driven out into the cold and abandoned to your fate? Have you been chased out of your matrimonial home, forced to watch your children living in deprivation without a means of livelihood? In the depths of your misery, have you begun to question God’s faithfulness and ability to deliver on His promises? Whatever your situation and whichever scenario you may fit into: be encouraged! Do not hide your feelings from God. He who knows all things, knows your thoughts.” The Gilded Cage is about living life with a silver lining always on our horizon. It’s about looking at the glass and saying it is half full instead of half empty. When we view life’s pains from a position of purpose and it travails as birthing triumph, then we are better able to weather the inevitable storms of life. If two houses are built in the same geographical location, the ability of each house to withstand storms and hurricanes would be dependent on the types of materials from which they are built. One thing is guaranteed: the rains will fall and the elements slam against the houses but it is only the house that is built on a solid foundation that will survive. So also it is with the storms of life that we have to weather. It is our foundation in God that preserves us through these volatile seasons of life. Sometimes the vicissitudes we encounter in life are not of our own making; they are situations and unforeseen circumstances we are thrown into by others which could bring even more pain. In The Gilded Cage, by examining the lives of biblical characters, the author highlights a principle which we can see clearly played out in the Bible – the paradox of our faith, the poetry of God and the mystery of His Sovereignty. In the perplexing puzzles of life that we face daily, God always has the wider picture in mind. He is the sovereign hand that weaves the tapestry of life’s experiences into a redemptive story. He causes all things—both good and seemingly bad—to work out for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. So, if we love him, then painful as our experiences may be, this knowledge should serve as our ‘anchor in the storm’ to keep us hopeful. We can learn to exercise our faith in trusting His integrity as God—that even when it is dark all around us and we cannot seem to make sense of the darkness, He knows the way through into the light. The book encourages us to trust that God’s presence remains with us in every storm; we have His guidance when we are confused and His light at the end of every dark tunnel. Many Christians grapple with the mystery of unanswered prayers and some have even abandoned the faith on account of this. In The Gilded Cage, the author examines this mystery in the light of what could be termed the ultimate pursuit of godliness, where we come to know God for who He is rather than for what He can provide or do. We get to the place where we say in true adoration and peaceful surrender, ‘… To whom do we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ The psalmist said in Psalm 139:7, 9&10: ‘Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence … If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.’
Nkoyo Rapu is a lawyer by profession and a woman of diverse interests and skills. She is committed to her work with women and children. She sits as a member of the Board of Trustees for Freedom Foundation, an umbrella organization of four non-governmental agencies pioneering social reformation and rehabilitation among the disadvantaged in society, particularly in Lagos, Nigeria. In recognition of her efforts in community development, Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu was one of the recipients of the Genevieve Magazine Award for outstanding women in 2008, and the ‘‘Island News’’ Personality of the Year in 2003. In the past 24 years, Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu has served as co-pastor of several churches, alongside her husband, both here in Nigeria and abroad. Most notably, she was one of the founding pastors of The Redeemed Christian Church of God Apapa Parish in Lagos, Nigeria, popularly known as Freedom Hall. It is now referred to as “The Apapa Family” because of its extensive network of churches and its subsequent impact worldwide. Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu currently sits on the Board of Elders for a ministry that is made up of three distinct churches; This Present House, God Bless Nigeria and The Water Brook Church. Each church reflects a different aspect of the ministry‘s evangelical focus. ‘‘The Gilded Cage’’ is the first in her Lifestyle Books Series through which she shares her personal experiences in practical and relevant ways. She is married to Dr. Tony Rapu, a medical doctor and pastor and they have three beautiful children. Her favourite pastimes include painting, poetry and song writing.