“Maybe the verse inspired me to do what I’ve wanted to do all along, but that’s still just me,” Paul argued.
Nobody remained silent and still for a few moments before eventually bowing his head and taking in a deep breath. “I’d like you to consider what you read over the next few books of the Bible. Could you ask yourself what happened every time the Israelites looked to their own strength?”
“Why is it so important to you that I read the Bible?” Paul asked.
Nobody turned his head in Paul’s direction. “I gave you the Bible. I will ask you questions about what you read, but I’m not making you read it.”
“That doesn’t mean you don’t want me to.”
Nobody nodded his head. “When I first spoke to you, you were hurt, and you were looking for answers. I want you to read the Bible because I know the real answers you’re looking for are there. Sure, I expect you’ll read everything you can get your hands on that the world has to offer to understand how I visit you, but even if that does eventually help you understand how I move from where I was to here, it won’t tell you why you were beaten. It won’t tell you how you should act. It won’t tell you why your mom stopped coming in to comfort you.”
“And the Bible will?” Paul didn’t even try to hide the scorn in his voice.
“To be honest, you’ve already read the reason, but you haven’t yet read the explanation,” Nobody said. “You have half the answer, but it’s not one any person appreciates hearing. That’s why you need to wait for the other half. You have half of an equation, and you won’t even be ready to consider the truth until you find the rest.”
That didn’t make any sense to Paul. He wasn’t even close to being halfway through the Bible, and he didn’t have any answers on why his dad was the way he was.
“I thought it would be over,” Paul whispered.
“How so?” Nobody asked.
“You can read my mind, so why are you asking?” Paul asked.
“Because you get annoyed when I tell you what you’re thinking, and I really don’t want to annoy you any more than I have to.”
Paul cocked his head. Nobody didn’t admit he was a mind reader, not in so many words, but the man did admit he knew what Paul was thinking.
“I thought I’d call the police, and my dad would get thrown in jail, and that would be it,” Paul said.
“Life is a journey,” Nobody said. “I’ve come to think of it like a testing ground in a way. Trials come to test you. But there are good times, too.”
Paul’s lip trembled. It wasn’t the words Nobody used. It was the hope they implied. Paul couldn’t remember being happy. He wondered if he ever was. The last twelve years of his life seemed filled by nothing but pain and sadness. Was he ever going to have those good times.
Nobody stood. “I promise you that one day, you will see the reason for all of this. I promise you, God has a plan, and it is good.”
“How is getting beat my whole life any good?!” Paul kept shouting even as Nobody calmly walked out of the room. Paul’s rage fueled him even more. “How is my mom and I nearly dying a good thing?! What possible good can come of me being hated by my own father?!””
The temperature swung back and forth, just like it always did when Nobody came or left. A part of Paul noted that the effect wasn’t so easy to feel this time, maybe because Nobody was farther away? He didn’t see the flash of light, but he did hear that strange sort of electrical surge. All of those things registered in Paul’s mind even as he shouted.
“Why did it have to happen?! Does your stupid book say that?!” Tears were streaming down his face. It hurt. It hurt so bad, and that jerk told him it was good! “Why did it have to happen to me? What did I do?”
A nurse, a scrawny stick of man wearing deep blue hospital scrubs, came scurrying into the room. “It’s ok!” The nurse’s voice was gentile, but urgent. “You’re safe now! You’re in a hospital. No one’s going to hurt you.”
The nurse must have thought Paul had woken from a nightmare. The man slowly wrapped an arm around Paul, trying to comfort him. Paul just kept crying. He didn’t understand, and he didn’t think he ever would.
The end of Chapter 3.