The other day, before violently vomiting, going to the hospital, and learning that I have the stomach flu, my father gave me a call. If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you know that things with my father have never been easy. I grew up in an emotionally and verbally abusive home. I became a woman who yearned to be loved by men and yet feared men while simultaneously disregarding men’s importance or personhood. It’s an odd dynamic: fearing men while hating them and mocking them. This is something I’m still working through.
My father called me just after I vomited for the first time on the street here in NYC, terribly dramatic I know, and he rang to see how I was. During our conversation, about twenty minutes in, I began vomiting again and he heard it all, bless his soul. On the other end I heard, “Gabby, relax. Gabby, breathe. Gabby, can you hear me?” After each hurl, I gasped for air and feared that I wouldn’t find any. Once that panic sets into your body, it’s hard to get out of it.
I wiped my mouth, sat back, and listened to my Dad. A few minutes later, I felt much better and I explained to my dad that I think all of these sicknesses are a result of an evil, demonic attack. Considering how no doctor can understand why this is happening to my body, why I’m experiencing all of these erratic symptoms, and taking into account the time that it started, it seems clear to me that this is an evil attack against my body, to prevent me from my calling. Of course to my Dad, a new believer, this was shocking and confusing.
I explained some parts of the book of Job to him, in what I call the GIV (Gabby International Version). Essentially I said, “So God was like, ‘Wow, Satan, look at my servant Job. Isn’t he awesome? Doesn’t he love Me so well?’ And Satan was like, ‘Yeah right, God. He only loves You because You gave him all this stuff. Take that away and he’ll curse You to Your face.’ Then God was like, ‘Okay, take his stuff but you can’t touch him physically.’ So then Satan was like, ‘Okay’ and took everything material from Job in one day. Then Job still loved and honored God so Satan was like, ‘Aight lemme mess with his body. Then he’ll curse You!’ God was like, ‘Okay, but you can’t kill him.’ Then Satan messed with his health. So clearly, dad, this is what’s going on with me. Job wasn’t a one-time thing. Things like this do happen!”
I know, I’m quite the story-teller.
Then I asked my Dad if we could pray together and he asked me the one question I wanted to hear all of my life: “Gabby, how do you pray with another person?”
What honor. What responsibility. Me, a twenty-four year old woman was to teach my almost sixty-year old father what it meant to pray with another person. I chose my words carefully, making sure to avoid all Christianese.
“Well, Dad, you’re basically just talking to God with another person. And remember when I was a kid and we would pray at the table and Mom would say, ‘Yes, Lord.’ ‘Mhmm.’ Well, she was just agreeing with us in prayer. Jesus tells us that where two or more are gathered in His name, He will be there. So of course Jesus is with us all the time and we don’t need another human to talk to Jesus. But, when we gather with another in any aspect of life, we’re stronger, right? That’s all it is.”
We sat and prayed together for about ten minutes. That was the first time he had ever really prayed with someone. Wow, God. After praying for my Dad’s salvation for years, almost a decade, he finally came to faith in You. He is beginning to know You. I can’t believe You’re letting me help my dad in his faith journey. I can’t believe You want me to do this!
Readers, never give up hope on your family members and friends. God works on His own timing. Jesus will save. He still seeks and saves the lost.