Word on the street is that there’s a spectacular view from this vantage point – I wouldn’t know having never been here before.
Tonight this rocky mount is shrouded in darkness, the eerie calm broken only by my chattering teeth and knocking knees. If He hadn’t called, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be home in front of the fire, basking in the warmth of my comfort zone. Instead, I’m out in the cold, alone, teetering on the brink of an abyss. My only consolation comes in knowing that it can’t get any worse. Then it does.
With terrifying brilliance, lightening explodes on the horizon, thunder splinters the stillness, and heaven dumps buckets of freezing rain right where I am standing. My tears mingle with the icy glaze forming on my chin.
Above the din, I think I hear a voice calling my name. For a fleeting moment, another burst of lightening chases the darkness away. There, at the bottom of my crag, I see a man. He waves, and then with hands cupped about His mouth, He calls my name, “Ronda!”
I know that voice. It’s Jesus. Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Lover of my Soul. And, the One who called me out into the storm. In another place, at another time, I would bow down and call him Holy. But now, cold and hungry, weakened by the fury of the storm, I’m angry. What does He want? Why did He call me out only to leave me alone? THIS is how He treats His own?
He knows I’m wrestling with my emotions. He knows because I am His, and He knows me through and through. A gust of wind sticks its finger in my back, and pushes me closer to the edge. My anger is displaced with terror. Without Him I will perish. Lord, Help me! Tell me what to do!
Jump? Excuse me? I don’t think I heard you right. What did you say?
“Jump, I’ll catch you!”
Surely He jests. His request evokes memories of other times, in other places when someone beckoned, “Jump!” and I did. Only they didn’t catch me, they walked away, and I hit the ground.
“You won’t get pregnant. I know what I’m doing, I’ve done this before.” And, I closed my eyes and succumbed to the violation of my person and my dreams.
“Marry me. I’ll love you forever.” Forever only lasted a little while. Then he did the unthinkable, leaving me to face an angry town demanding answers I couldn’t give.
“This will be over quickly.” Then he left us – my doctor, my friend – to labor in agony for hours before birthing our stillborn son into the hands of a stranger.
“I’ll never leave you again, Mom.” But within weeks he was gone, taking my mother-heart with him, leaving me to cry in the night hours.
Jump? Why should I trust Him any more than the others?
Because while I hid the secret of not just one rape, but two, on a shelf in the closet of my heart, God loved me. And held me. And, when the time was right, we opened the door together, unwrapped the package, and exposed it to His light.
Because while I listened to the accusation of law enforcement officials, tussled with the meaning of “single” mom and struggled to assimilate my then husband Eddie’s sin into the story of our lives, God provided a safe place for us to stay, family and friends who cared, and a new understanding of devastation and loss.
Because though the doctor abandoned us, God stayed close while I brought our son into a silent world. When my husband Rob and I held our lifeless baby boy in our hands, God wrapped His arms around us, and cried.
Because when my son walked away, God taught me the meaning of unconditional love. No matter what he does, or where he goes, he will always be my son. I will always love him, and nothing – no one – can take that away.
How can I not trust Him? I may not understand. I may not even like where He takes me. But, this I do know: He will never leave me to suffer alone. When my heart shatters, He will put it together, making it stronger than before. In the night hours, when I weep, He will sit by my bed and sing to me. He will redeem my pain; make me a planting for Himself that He might be glorified. He will turn my darkness into light. For my ashes, give me beauty.
At the edge, when there’s nowhere else to go, He will provide a way out.
“Jesus. Lord of Lords. King of Kings. Lover of my Soul. Catch me. I’m jumping!”