Slowly, the man’s words came back to him like a lightning strike. “You called me to help you so, here I am.” Dave moved his eyes from the TV to the man sitted on the couch. The man was smiling at him broadly. Dave swallowed.
“Who did you say you are again?” He asked slowly.
Dave recalled his Sunday school knowledge. “Ebenezer. Helper”, he mused. He had to be sure.
“Ebenezer who?” He asked softly.
The man smiled at Dave again and crossed his legs. Jehovah Ebenezer.”
“First at the police station. Now, in my house… and I don’t even know how I got to the house. I am definitely going mad,” Dave said as his knees buckled again and he crumbled and fell to the floor.
Dave woke up three hours later. He opened his eyes slowly and scanned his environment. He was in his bedroom. On his bed in his pyjamas. Dave remembered what had happened earlier. “I must have fainted again”, he thought as he put his hand to his head. He sat up abruptly.
“Jehovah Ebenezer”, he mouthed.
“Yes?” His door opened and the man walked into his bedroom. “You called again David.”
“It’s not a dream? You’re still here? “Dave asked.
“No, it’s not a dream and yes, I’m still here”, the man smiled.
“As a matter of fact, I cooked. You must be feeling hungry. Come, let’s eat.”
Dave’s stomach growled as if trying to prove the man right.
“I am hungry”, he rubbed his stomach and stood up.
“Come and dine”, the man invited and walked out of the room.
Dave walked into the kitchen and his nostrils were assaulted with the wonderful aroma of fried potatoes, fried plantain and fried eggs with fresh coffee. He looked at the dining table and saw the food laid out tantalizingly. The man was at the head of the table and he beckoned to David to sit.
Dave walked to the dining table and sat at the other end of the table. Now, it seemed funny to him that he had a long dining table for six but had always eaten alone for the past four years. Well, he wasn’t to blame. His interior decorator was.
Dave was about to bite into the meal when he was stopped short by his visitor.
“Stop”, the man ordered softly.
“What?” Dave queried.
For an answer, the man prayed, “Thank You dear Lord for the food. Please, nourish our bodies in Jesus name, Amen!”
Dave did not echo the ‘Amen’ as he bit into his fried potatoes and mouthed an “Mmmm…” at the delicious taste.
He made quick work of the meal. He had not eaten anything this delicious since he had been arrested. This took Dave’s mind back to the police cell.
“How was I released?” he wondered.
He looked at the man sitted across from him. The man had eaten only the plantains and drank two cups of coffee. Now, his hand was around the coffee cup. It seems he was drinking a third cup. His eyes were fixed on Dave.
“Ebenezer”, Dave thought.
“Yes?” the man replied.
“You hear my thoughts”, Dave said in his mind.
“That’s the basic way we’ve talked since we met”, he replied.
Dave recalled the police station incident and what happened in his room some minutes earlier. He realized the man was right.
“So”, Dave spoke up this time. “If you are God, who were you praying to just now?”
“Why don’t we begin from you calling me ‘God’ in your head?” The man asked. “You’ve been calling me ‘man’ since in your thoughts.”
“Again, the man… God is right”, Dave thought. “I’ve been calling him ‘man’.”
“Of course, I’m right Dave.” Ebenezer smiled. “I was praying to the Lord Jesus. But basically, I was teaching you to bless your meal.”
“Mum taught me that, “ Dave blurted unconsciously.
“But, you forgot”, Ebenezer added.
“Because I never understood,” Dave defended. “How can I understand something or someone I can’t see?”
“How do you understand air?”
“That’s different and you know it!” Dave shouted.
“How different?” Ebenezer asked.
“I can feel air.”
“So, everything and everyone that exists should be based on your feelings?”
Dave was silent. His eyes strode to his empty plate.
“David”, Ebenezer called. “See these fried potatoes,” He pointed at his plate. “Sorry, I have an addiction for dodo. I just love ‘em so I ate ‘em all up”, He smiled.
Dave smiled too. He loved fried plantain too and he loved the way Ebenezer called it in local Nigerian parlance.
“Here’s the point. Do you think all these foods were just accidentally stumbled on by some human. Don’t you ever wonder who ever thought of boiling or frying or roasting potatoes first? Don’t you ever consider the first person that thought of making egg edible, whether by boiling, frying, scrambling or whatever means? Do you think everything you see was created by man?” Ebenezer asked.
“What’s your point?” Dave asked.
There was only one Bible in the house. The small Bible his mum had given him as a birthday gift when he was seven. It was on his bookshelf. Dave wondered why he had kept it.
“For such a time as this… “Ebenezer smiled.
Dave went to the bookshelf and retrieved the Bible from the last column. It was dusty and needed a little cleaning. He used the dusting rag and returned to the dining room. Ebenezer had cleared up the dishes.
Dave sat down and opened the Bible as Ebenezer took His seat. The ‘aroma’ of home assaulted his nostrils as he did so. He had been away for a long time. A tear slid off his cheek as he remembered how he had dashed into his room that night and packed hurriedly. He had seen the small Bible under his pillow and had picked it up too. Dave finally got to Job 32:8.
“But there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding”, Dave read aloud.
“What’s this supposed to mean?” Dave asked.
“God exists. I exist. Everything just didn’t fall into place. No one actually just thought to create this or that. I am the answer to all of the world’s questions. I am Jehovah. The I am that I am.”
“If you create everything and everyone. Why didn’t you create us to see you or feel you or something? After all, you created us to walk by our senses. Our senses of sight, smell, hearing, tasting and feeling.” Dave reasoned.
“I didn’t create you to just walk by your senses Dave. You are made of so much more. See Genesis 1:26. I made you in my image.”
Dave opened the passage and read slowly.
“How do I know all this is not trash?” He asked, pointing to the Bible. “I read this… I read it all still I didn’t find you.”
Dave opened “Jeremiah 29:13, And ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart”, Dave paused. “I read the Bible. I prayed. What else did you expect of me?”
“You didn’t do all those with a searching heart Dave. You did it to fulfill all righteousness. You were being religious!” Ebenezer began.
“Daniella was sensitive enough. From a young age she understood. You were so close too son”, Ebenezer touched his shoulder. Dave jolted. He didn’t know when Ebenezer left His chair and came to his side. But, he didn’t push the Hand away. It was oddly, comforting.
“You were so close . . . but you walked away.”
Dave knew all too well what that meant. He looked at Ebenezer.
“How do I explain You?”
“You don’t”, Ebenezer smiled. “You just believe.”
“I’m not ready”, Dave sighed.
“I’ll be here when you are”, Ebenezer squeezed his shoulder and gave him a pat. “Now, go and rest son. It’s late.”
Almost immediately, Dave’s eyes felt heavy. He yawned as he stood up and walked to the door. He looked back and saw Ebenezer smiling.
“You won’t leave?” He asked and realized he sounded like a scared child.
“I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.”
Dave nodded and yawned as he turned and walked to his bedroom. He fell asleep with the words, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you” in his mind.
Dave woke up to the sound of Don Moen’s ‘Thank you Lord’. He knew the song very well. It had been one of Daniella’s favourites. Dave laid still on the bed as he reminisced. He basked in the feeling of being home again, just one door away from Daniella as she sang at the top of her voice. Suddenly, he sat up. “Music. The music’s back!” He cried excitedly as he bundled out of bed and ran out to the sitting room.
“Ebenezer!” He called.
“David”, Ebenezer smiled as he strode into the room from the direction of the kitchen. “You thought I’d leave?”
“I still don’t know much about you”, Dave avoided the question. He was not about to confess that he felt loved. A feeling he had not felt since he started living on his home away from family. Anyway, Ebenezer had been reading his thoughts. He most likely knew already.
“Yes, I know”, Ebenezer replied. “You can know everything you need to know about me from there”, He pointed to the Bible that lay open at the same spot Dave had left it the previous night on the dining table. “And you needn’t worry about me leaving”, He winked. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.
“That’s in the Bible, right?” Dave enquired.
Dave picked up the Bible and walked to the couch. He sat down and opened to the exact place – Hebrews 13:8 as the song changed to Don Moen’s, ‘Micorazon’. Dave read the verse twice before deciding to read the entire chapter.
“Come and have some food son”, Ebenezer called. Dave looked up. He looked from Ebenezer to the clock. His eyes widened as he discovered he had been reading the Bible for two hours! He looked at Ebenezer again. His smile was in place. “Come and eat”, He repeated.
Dave stood up and strode to the table. He was surprised to see fufu and egusi soup with different proteins struggling for attention. A smile tugged at his lips. “Where did you learn to cook?” He asked as he cocked his eyebrows.
“Have you forgotten Job 32:8 so soon?” Ebenezer laughed.
“Oh… inspiration and understanding”, Dave said as he took his seat and watched Ebenezer do same. “Even then, where do you get the ingredients? I’m pretty sure I don’t have half of the ingredients you used to prepare this.
“I have my ways.” Ebenezer laughed. “Thank you Blessed Lord for this wonderful meal.”
Dave ate heartily and conversed with Ebenezer on some portions of the Scripture he had read. He thanked Ebenezer for the meal and they both cleared the dishes and washed them after which Dave proceeded to his room to have his bath.
As he bathed, he asked himself questions.
“Is he really God?” He thought of Ebenezer. “If He is, why would He come to me? With all the wrong I’ve done? He should probably be with Daniella or Divine or Mum and Dad”.
A verse of Scripture he had read that afternoon came to his mind. Something in Zechariah “He that troubles you trouble the apple of his eyes.”
“I am the apple of His eyes”, Dave muttered as he sponged his arms thoroughly.
“Why do I have a feeling Ebenezer is even listening to my thoughts but does not want to interject? Is this how God listens in on everyone’s thoughts?” He wondered.
Ten minutes later, he came out of the bathroom, toweled thoroughly and used his body lotion. He dressed up casually and went to the sitting room. He met Ebenezer on the couch, reading the Bible. He turned and there was no smile on His face this time.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“To the club. I’ve got to see how things are going.” Dave replied.
“What do you mean ‘no’?” Dave scoffed.
“You are not going to the club.”
“You can’t be serious.” Dave retorted.
He grabbed his car keys from the settee. He wondered how it had gotten there.
“See you later Ebenezer”, he said as he moved towards the door.
One second, Dave was at the door, trying to turn the door knob, the next second, he was knocked against the wall. Ebenezer looked up at the shattering sound, muttered a soft “Sorry” and returned to his reading.
“What the…” Dave hissed under his breath.
He ignored the mess and moved toward the door again. This time, he crashed against the bookshelf and the glass casing shattered and fell in splinters around him.
Dave struggled to regain his footing. When he stood, he found Ebenezer staring at him.
“What is wrong with you?” Dave spat. “Are you just going to lock me in here like I’m in some sort of prison?”
“You are in a prison”, Ebenezer replied. “Just not one of my own making. You are a captive of yourself son. A prisoner of your past.”
“So, how long do you intend to keep me here?!” Dave shouted. “This is just rubbish. I don’t even know who you are!”
‘Really?” Ebenezer cocked his eyebrows.
“How can a God lock people up and restrict their freedom?”
“How can you lock yourself up and give up your freedom?” Ebenezer queried. “Come out of your prison son.”
“I’m not in a prison!” Dave shouted.
“Yes you are. The prison of July 1st, 2005.”
Dave staggered backwards and fell on the bookshelf. “How…how do you know…know that?” He stammered.
“Because I was there.”
To be continued next week, thanks for reading.😍