That repetitive tapping was getting to be awfully distracting.
Rhoda lifted her head and glanced around. Everybody was focused on their prayers. No one would notice is she went to see who was knocking so fiercely at this hour.
Standing slowly so as not to draw attention to herself, she quietly slipped out of the main room and made her way to the gate. The tapping sound amplified to a loud knocking. Cautiously, Rhoda cracked the door open. Her jaw dropped. Numbness warred with heart palpitations as she stared at the man on the other side of the open gate.
With a shriek of excitement, Rhoda threw the door shut and ran back to the group. She screamed, "Everyone! Everyone! Peter is at the door!"
Everyone stopped praying and stared at her. Instead of jumping up and stampeding to the door, they stared at her with furrowed brows and disbelieving frowns. Finally an older man she couldn't see spoke. "You are out of your mind."
Her eyes widened at the insult. "He's out there! Come and see for yourself."
But it was too late. Everyone was talking, dismissing her with a wave of their hand, and rolling their eyes. Hadn't they all just spent hours praying for this very thing? Now Peter was outside, and they didn't believe her.
An older woman moved towards Rhoda. She pulled Rhoda into a hug. "It's all right, dear girl."
Rhoda pulled away from the woman. "It's him! Just come and see."
"It's his ghost. There is no way Peter is out there. Stop being so foolish." There was no mistaking that voice. It came from one of the leaders in the church.
Rhoda narrowed her eyes at the man. "If I'm so foolish, how do you explain that knocking sound?"
Based on Acts 12:13-15
"And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, 'You are out of your mind.' But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, 'It is his angel!'" Acts 12:13-15
Some people give Rhoda a bad rep, and that bothers me because I think Rhoda is pretty awesome. I understand the good points being made forgetting, not opening the door, and such, but I think Rhoda deserves some credit, too.
Her first response was to share this awesome news with others because she was so overcome with joy! Her first response was belief that God had done the impossible for them! That's awesome. Shame on the people who tried to tell her that she was out of her mind or that it was Peter's ghost!
Rhoda believed. The others didn't. However, she didn't back down. The others had spent considerable time praying, but didn't, couldn't, wouldn't believe without the physical proof. Sadly, some were probably even praying because that's just what we are supposed to do without putting any faith in it.
"Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" John 20:29
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Is our first response to believe? Is it joy, belief, and running around like crazy to tell the world of the awesome things God has done or is about to do? Or are we like the others who prayed for just this, but who clearly didn't expect it to happen? Are we the ones who refuse to believe because it's impossible? We are supposed to believe, especially for things we are praying about.
I would rather throw the door shut in an apostle's face or even Jesus' face because I'm overcome by joy and belief, then be caught opening the door in disbelief because I was trying to prove that person was crazy for believing.
V. Joy Palmer