The iron chains rattled as the heavy links dangled from the gnarled, twisted old oak. My wrists were peeled, cracked and dripping blood down my forearms and in between my clenched fingers. Every bone in my body ached with agony.
“They are calling in an ambulance to take you and your son to the main hospital in Oslo.”
The sentence crashed in around my weary, beleaguered postpartum brain as I clutched my husband’s hand. I sat blinking in shock at the young tall pediatric doctor dressed in blue who had just spoken. Twelve hours ago I had delivered what we thought was a perfectly healthy 9 lb. baby boy.
We went into the wilderness without Him. I don’t know what I was thinking. We all knew there were people dying in the wilderness every day. Their hollow and broken cries echoed up the deep ravines and dry riverbeds, bouncing against the stone hewn walls of the ancient fortress that sat just at the foot of the great northern mountains.
I am girl from small town USA. I’m used to simple and easy and right and wrong. I may have grown up, gained perspective in college, learned to ask questions when I became a parent and then widened my understanding even more with living overseas, but still at heart, life is simple and straightforward to me. You can’t take that black and white perspective away. It’s how I see God, how I see people, how I see culture and it shapes how I make choices in life. I’m so thankful for it, because the more I discover the world, the more I see gray. There are too many options, too many opinions, too many choices to choose from, too many things that can be wrongly understood and badly interpreted no matter your intent.
It was the drumbeat, slow, steady and heavy, vibrating up from the depths of the mountains, echoing off the stone valley walls. It bounced and thudded and hammered through the atmosphere towards the sky. A second rhythm followed, quieter but faster than the first. The pounding of a thousand pairs of feet, racing up the cleared paths on the mountain slopes. The runners faces were set like flint, eyes burning with ardor and calloused hands clenching iron brands dripping with black oil. On their foreheads was tattooed in dark ink the name of the king.
Growing up as Christian, one of the scariest things in my mind was sharing the gospel. It was so awkward talking about heaven and hell with strangers on the street and passing out those little black and white tracks that you basically just dictated to the blinking, mostly nice strangers who stared at you apologetically.