I don’t know how much more I can take, I thought. I can’t wait for this to be over.
I leaned over my bedridden father as I buttoned his pajama top. My drab brown hair hung in his face, but I knew it didn’t bother him. Ever since his stroke, he couldn’t feel much of anything.
His dressing complete, I stood back and observed my father’s emaciated frame lying paralyzed on crisp sheets. Thanks to the stroke, Dad suffered from incontinence. In all of my twenty-three years, I never would have guessed I would spend the best years of my life cleaning up my father’s filth. I grabbed his soiled linens and dropped them in the washing machine on my way to the kitchen, disgusted. Times like this I wished I had enough money to hire a nurse so I could be free from a life of servitude. Of course, I never had such luck.
I headed into my tiny kitchen and began to prepare lunch. While heating Dad’s soup, my cell phone rang. I answered the call even though there wasn’t a name displayed on the caller I.D.
The stranger’s smooth, slinky voice gave me pause. I could hear a melodious tone to his speech, almost like a lullaby.
“Who is this?”
“I’m the Angel of Light, but you can just call me Angel.”
A skeptical chuckle escaped my throat as I continued preparing my father’s food.
“‘Angel of Light’? Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“Not at all. I know it’s not as popular as ‘Dan’ or ‘Joseph’ but it suits me fine.”
“All right then, you mind telling me how you got this number? Why would an ‘Angel’ need to call me anyway?”
Angel chuckled softly. Goodness, even his subtle laugh was enough to make me weak in the knees. Goodness, I thought, when’s the last time that’s happened?
“Well,” Angel began, his tone enticing, “technically, I am not an angel. I am a mere messenger. God has spoken to me and commanded I contact you. He has given me a word to deliver.”
I stood motionless with a pan of hot soup on the stove in front of me. Without a doubt, this guy was a few beers short of a six pack. God told him to call me? Highly unlikely.
“I can see you’re a bit apprehensive,” Angel said after silence lingered on the line. “But I assure you, I am the real deal. God has given me a message for you. Well, actually it’s more like a gift for diligence.”
I finally found my voice. “Okay, so let me get this straight: God told you to call me so he could give me a present? When did the Almighty turn into Santa Claus?”
“Oh, he’s far from Santa. Can jolly ole St. Nick grant you the freedom you’ve been craving? No, he can’t. So take a seat, Chrystal, and listen carefully.”
“Wait, how did you know-?”
“I know lots of things,” he interrupted. “I know you hate serving as your father’s nurse. I know you lack money. I even know you’re standing in your humble kitchen sweating over your dad’s hot soup.”
Either Angel was a stalker or he really had been led by God to find me. Quickly, I moved across the room and looked through the kitchen window near my flimsy dinette set. The only thing I spotted in my backyard was a leafy green tree swaying in a breeze and a squirrel. No one was outside my home.
I could think of no other explanation as to how he knew about my stagnant, unsatisfying life. I hardly left my house, and people seldom spoke to me. I had no real friends. My world revolved around my ill father, so who could possibly know how desperately I wanted to escape this pitiful reality? How did Angel know my actions at that very moment?
Unable to answer the questions that wracked my mind, I did the only thing I could think of. I sat.
“Now,” Angel began, “I’ve called you because God recognizes your selflessness in caring for your ailing father. He has decided now is your time for a blessing.”
I frowned. “Why would God give me a blessing? I’m nobody. I have no friends. No life. I seldom go to church. Why am I so special?”
“God heard your cries for a new life, Chrystal, one you can make for yourself. He’s granted me His favor, and I’m here to pass that favor onto you.”
“God wants to give me His favor?” I asked in a harsh whisper.
“Yes, He does. Think about it. With the favor of God you wouldn’t be burdened with an invalid. You could travel, get a makeover. You’ll have enough money and freedom to become the woman you’ve always wanted to be. All you have to do is say ‘yes’, and everything will change. Will you say ‘yes’?”
My heart thumped hard against my chest. Just ten minutes ago I longed for a way out of my miserable life. Now an Angel was offering me the very desire of my heart. To be free. To be someone special. I could barely keep my hands from shaking with excitement as I blurted my answer.
“Good girl. You’ve made a wise decision. Since your father will no longer need his soup, I suggest you grab a Bible and look up 2 Corinthians 11:14. It will explain everything.”
Angel’s abrupt disconnection from the call left me confused as I stared at my cell phone. He said my father won’t need his soup. Did that mean…?
I refused to waste time hunting for my long lost Bible. Instead, I Googled the scripture Angel told me to read from my cell phone, 2 Corinthians 11:14.
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Silent and still, I sat for what felt like hours as I processed what had just happened. Eventually, came to understand the full weight of my decision, my choice, and the cost of my “freedom.” An Angel made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, but I never thought to ask about the fine print. Now it was too late.