There are a few bible stories that really stand out as favorites from when I was a child in Sunday School. Some of them I don't even think about much anymore... until my husband is reading one of them to my son at bedtime, and all the memories come rushing back, and I remember it all over again, in the same way that I heard it when I was a kid.
Tonight's story was, of course, one of them. It was about Peter being miraculously released from prison by the angels. Now I've always liked Peter and been fascinated by him. As an adult, I think there is something about his brashness and his incredible "guilt complex" that reminds me of ... well ... someone I know. I'm thinking bipolar depression wasn't really a "thing" back then, but if it had been, I'm pretty sure Peter would have been the poster~child.
But I digress... because it wasn't actually Peter who caught my attention in this story. Not as a child. It was the little girl. Rhoda. No one ever remembers her name, but I do. Maybe because I had an aunt named Rhoda and I thought it was cool that her name was in the bible. But I think it's far more likely that I remembered her name for the very same reason that I am drawn to her story.
Rhoda starts with three strikes against her: 1) she's a child, 2) she's a girl, and 3) she's a servant ~ worth little more than a doorstop in this story. But, here's the beautiful mystery: Much like Mary in the garden on that first Easter morning, Rhoda was the first witness to a miracle. And not just any miracle, but the very miracle that all the important people in the house were praying for, waiting for, even fasting for. And, of course, the important people didn't even want to believe her.
Now, somewhere in my 4 or 5 year old mind when I first heard this story, I connected to this little girl. Something about feeling small and unimportant, perhaps, but I believe it's far more than that. This little girl had something very important to share with the world, something that no one... all of the important people gathered in the house for the sole purpose of waiting for (and supposedly expecting) THIS specific event to occur... none of those people would believe her when she told them what she knew.
Because, she wasn't supposed to be the one to know.
She wasn't supposed to have information that they didn't have.
She was only supposed to answer the door and do what she was told.
And she did.
And she saw.
And she knew.
And, as usual, in situations like this, no one believed her. Not until they saw for themselves.
And even then, after seeing for themselves and finally believing the truth of her message, I'm not convinced that any of them really even noticed Rhoda then. But I'm glad that at least one person somewhere in history noticed her enough to remember her name and tell her story... even if just in a couple sentences.