The clock kept ticking.
Each stroke brought pain to Adanna’s heart. It was 5:30 pm. In thirty minutes she would get off work and face the sad reality.
She refused to think about it. She closed her eyes, hoping against hope. “We’ve got thirty minutes Lord.”
At 6 pm the bell jingled. It was close of day.
Adanna stared, unseeing. She had been so sure her prayers were heard. What now? The deadline was 9 pm. Hadn’t she specifically asked God for a raise in tips today? Wasn’t this how the whole faith thing worked? She didn’t even need a lot, just five thousand to complete her registration.
She had planned it all in her head. One thousand naira tips by five customers would produce the money she needed. So she had prayed earnestly. Her roommate had laughed hysterically. Trisha didn’t believe in God at all. What had He ever done to help her?
She knew for sure Trish would be home waiting, anxious to know what happened. She had put that in prayers too. It had seemed to her that Trish desperately wanted to believe. Behind the cynical attitude was a heart hungry for more.
So why hadn’t He answered? Didn’t He care about her school or Trisha’s unbelief?
Adanna walked to the park. She just couldn’t go home. As she sat, she cried to God.
“Are you there God? Are you real? I’m trying desperately to believe but I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel so let down God.”
She had no more words, only despair. So she cried in her anguish.
Spent, she stood up with sagging shoulders and walked the journey home. As she got to the house, she saw Trisha’s things scattered about and steeled herself against the laughter she was sure would come.
What she saw stopped her cold. Trisha’s face was white as her towel. She rushed to where Trish sat shaking.
“What’s wrong Trish? What is it? Talk to me!” Danna shouted, alarmed.
Trish moved frightened eyes to Adanna. She clung to her and began to utter the last thing Adanna ever imagined she would hear from Trish.
“Jesus! Jesus! My God Adanna, He was here.”
Adanna jumped back. “Are you alright Trish? What do you mean? Who was here?”
Adanna asked but Trish just kept on shaking. “Talk to me, Trisha. What happened here?”
“It was Tom.” Adanna could believe that. Tom was here often being Trisha’s boyfriend and all.
“He came here to see me. He seemed weird but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then he grabbed me. I smelled the alcohol in his breath and I froze. He said he had to gather the nerve to take me since I wouldn’t give him boyfriend privileges. He wanted me and he planned to have his way. I was so frightened. I knew it was useless fighting against all that strength. I couldn’t reason with him, not in his drunken state. So I prayed Danny. I was so desperate Danny. I prayed. I asked God to save me. I didn’t want to be used by a man, not like my mama was.”
Adanna sat still. It felt like a story from one of her novels. Only, this was real. Trisha was still shaking.
“All of a sudden Tom stopped touching me. He pushed back like he was scared. The movement threw me off so I opened my eyes and then I saw Him in the room with us. He knelt and touched Tom and he began to cry. Tom cried hard and clung to Jesus. I was sure Jesus was going to send him sprawling across the floor but it didn’t happen. He stroked Tom’s head in compassion and told him it was okay. I wanted to run but I sat transfixed. I was so scared, Danny. Maybe he had mercy on Tom but I knew I wouldn’t be so lucky. I had said a lot of nasty stuff about Him to whoever cared to listen.”
Trisha hiccuped and continued, “I wanted to hide when He stood but the light emanating from Him gave no room for that. He looked at me so tenderly Danny. At that moment I knew for sure He loved me. Whatever I had believed was wrong. He looked at Tom and told him to do what he had come for. Then He left so quietly.”
Adanna was amazed beyond words. It was surreal. Then she remembered. She looked at Trisha expectantly, “What did Tom come for? What did Jesus mean, Trish?”
Tired but full of hope and joy, Trisha took out an envelope and handed it to her.
Adanna took it with trembling fingers. She caressed the envelope for a time and then opened it.
In it were five crisp one thousand naira notes. In the middle was a handwritten message, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen — the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hears, the dead are raised to life, and the Good news is being preached to the poor. And tell him: ‘Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.'”