You’re never too far for His hands to grab you.
“I’m worried about you.”
Christopher shook his head at Melinda. Her stubbornness was admirable…usually. This time however, it was aggravating.
“Look, Mel,” He started before she raised her hand and interjected,
“I really don’t want to hear what you have to say, not now, and certainly not ever. Just leave me the Hell alone. Can you do that?”
Her dark brown eyes stared challengingly into Christopher’s, her lips parted slightly as if she had more to say but couldn’t find the words, and Christopher realized just how much Lawrence had hurt her.
“What did he do to you?”
“I told you to leave me alone, Christopher. Can you not understand English?”
“Fine, I’ll go, but know for sure that I will be calling you when I get home.”
She heard his feet as they thudded softly on the white tiled floor, waiting for the door to slam so that she could finally let the tears fall, finally let herself be vulnerable, finally drop her guard. Ten seconds later, when the door closed loudly, Melinda cried herself to sleep.
At six, the phone rang near to her head, jerking her violently from the dreamless sleep she had been having. She knew who it was before she answered; only one person ever called her aside from Him. Her arm grasped awkwardly for the noisy appliance, and for a fleeting moment, she knew not whether to answer or to send it flying out of her fifth floor apartment. She decided to answer rather than inflict pain on some unsuspecting pedestrian.
“What do you want, Chris?”
“Good morning to you too sunshine.”
She groaned. Did he have to be so upbeat and cheery when her world consisted of dark blues, grays and the ever present black?
“I’m hanging up.”
She groaned again. This was not shaping up to be a good day.
“Look, if you’re checking up on me, I appreciate it, really. I just don’t want or need anything to do with your family right now.”
“I understand, but I’m not him Mel. I am not my brother.”
“You’re a guy and that’s enough,” she shouted, surprising both herself and Christopher with the vehemence in her voice.
Christopher gulped audibly before hurriedly telling her that he would call her back and hanging up the phone. Great. She had scared off the one guy who was willing to talk to her.
Flopping ungraciously unto her pillow, she attempted to find sleep once more, a sleep that escaped her. Her eyes popped open, the frustration in that little movement palpable. It didn’t help that her eyes fell upon Chris’ Bible. The cross on it mocked her, frightened her somehow, and she quickly flipped it over. The memory of her previous life, a life of smiles, of hope came rushing back and she fought desperately to find the stopper before the flood of memories, faces and voices overwhelmed her. She didn’t want to remember the friends she’d lost, the way she had hurt them all for him, for Chris’ brother.
Chris had said something to her last night, something that she knew internally but refused to admit to herself. He had said that no matter who had hurt her, Jesus never would. He had said that regardless how much pain, that despite her depression, His hands were outstretched and willing to take the pain away. He had sung too, and she felt a grudging gratitude for him in that moment that made her half-smile.
She started to pray then stopped, laughing at herself for even trying to find solace in the eternal arms of the Almighty. Christopher had been speaking to her for weeks now, ever since he had realized that she had forgotten how to smile. He had been there reminding her that God wanted her back, that the cloud of darkness she was enshrouded herself in was not too thick for God’s light to penetrate.
“Jesus,” she started again, before stopping.
Lawrence used to laugh at her for going to church, for her faith. He used to tell her that her voice was too beautiful for those sticks-in-the-mud to appreciate, and she had believed him wholeheartedly. She had stopped going to choir, had neglected Bible study so that she could go with him to the recording studio. He had become her whole world. He had been her first, and her life was forever bound to his, and now that he had left her for someone else, she had nothing.
“Not even Jesus can help me,” she scoffed, before realizing what she had to do. If she couldn’t live without him, she wouldn’t live at all.
Christopher had hopped into his Corolla the second the phone had hit the receiver, Melinda needed him, but more than him, she needed Jesus’ redeeming power to touch her. He maneuvered the road like a mad man, his every thought focused on getting to Melinda’s apartment, his mouth muttering prayers so quickly that had anyone been in the car with him, they would have thought that he was speaking gibberish. But he knew what he was praying.
“Father, the enemy has his clutches on Melinda, but in the name of Jesus, cover her in your blood.”
Melinda dragged her feet through the kitchen, her mind numb save for the quiet but persistent voice telling her to end it all, to reach for the knife. She obeyed, picking up the sharpest knife in the apartment and walked over to the sink, her feet tripping on her cell phone charger and sending it clattering to the floor.
“Just my luck, but then again, I don’t need a phone anymore.”
She stood where she was, extending her left hand while grasping the knife securely with her right.
“Jesus, if you’re going to stop me, you’d better do it now.”
The knife rested on her arm, and she bit her lip, bracing herself for what was to come when her cell phone rang suddenly and when she saw the name of the caller let the knife fall to the ground.
The name on her phone was “Christ.”
Christopher had never been an athlete, but he flew up those stairs with a speed that would make any Olympic medalist proud. He pounded on Melinda’s door.
“Mel! Mel! Open up!”
No answer came, and he whispered another prayer before pushing the door and being rewarded with a click on the inside as the door swung open. His eyes struggled to get accustomed to the dark room, and when he could see, his heart stopped. Melinda lay on the ground, and he assumed the worst.
“Mel! Answer me please!”
Tears were flowing now, warm and long, and dripping from his eyes to her face.
“Jesus please! Save her!” His words were riddled with anguish and he pushed her braids out of her face, hugging her to him.
There was shifting in the body below him, and he moved quickly as she smiled weakly at him.
“Jesus already has saved me.”
“Yes he has.” Christopher’s voice was thick with emotion.
“No, you don’t get it. He called me, just when I needed Him most.” There was a look of peace on her face, yet it seemed to Christopher that she was babbling.
“Look at my phone.”
Christopher stretched his left arm for the phone, unwilling g to release his grip on Melinda and looked at the phone with the broken screen and the call history. There, at 7:27, was a call from his cell phone, a call he had no idea he had made and yet had saved her life. An accidental call from the phone in his back pocket was the instrument of her protection. The broken screen had only showed the first six letters of his name and in her time of need, that was all Melinda needed. God had done it again.
“I’m redeemed Chris.”
“Yes Mel, your redeemer definitely lives.”