Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Sleep suddenly became my enemy. For what seemed like days, I had been trapped in complete darkness. Once the tears ran out and I was too exhausted to even sit up, I fell into a deep slumber. It was my personal hell. The very last scene of Narcissa and Chef’s deaths kept replaying. Each time, all I could do was stand there as it happened all over again. Ringmaster’s commands repeating each time.
I tried my hardest not to fall asleep, but being in the dark made that task very difficult. I finally tried singing, but my voice kept cracking after the incessant sobbing. Then I began to whistle. At first, it was just a random tune, but it soon morphed into a familiar song. For just a minute, I was distracted long enough to forget that I was a prisoner and that my only friends were murdered right before my eyes. That was the best minute I had in weeks.
After the second day or so, I realized that my captors were starving me. Not even a bowl of gruel was delivered to my cell. What concerned me more than not being fed was the lack of water. One day I realized I was getting moderately dehydrated when my lips cracked and bled when I tried to make an oval with my mouth to whistle. I heaved a despondent sigh that echoed in my chamber as my sole companion. How depressing.
I could feel the Comforter’s presence nearby, but in that moment I wanted to forget it all. A poisonous thought entered my mind…What if I had never met the Physician? My mental state must have been really dwindling because I suddenly heard a noise within the cell. My train of thought was completely derailed. Holding my breath, I turned my head toward the plopping sound. With muscles stiff from sitting in the same position for hours, I crawled a couple of feet making my way to the source of the sound.
A narcissistic side of me wondered if my captors were just toying with me, but when I felt the droplet of water splash against my extended hand I stilled with shock. “Thank you Father!” I whispered raggedly. Because it was so dark, I had a hard time getting situated beneath the water drip, but I somehow managed after three wasted droplets. Once settled into a spot, I just sat there with my mouth open ready to capture the water droplets.
Sitting there, the memory of meeting the Physician for the first time played through my mind. I couldn’t help but remember feeling peaceful, loved, and special. Then a voice akin to the Ringmaster asked the question in my head, “If you had never met the Physician, would Narcissa and Chef still be alive?”
I didn’t know how to respond. It was a question that I could possibly wrestle with for the rest of my miserable life. I shuddered remembering my enslaved life as Mel under the Ringmaster’s control, but if I could have spared my friends the fate of being imprisoned and murdered I would have. Thirty seconds had passed by before a droplet landed on my tongue.
However, this droplet was thick and sticky. As it dissolved, I realized that the sweetness came from honey! Then I heard the words of the King, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell…Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”
I sat there silently. Then another drop of honey fell into my mouth, but this drop lingered on my lips as I continued to hear Father’s words. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
As sweet as the honey was, I felt a bitter feeling in my empty stomach. I was still thinking about what Elyon’s messages to me when my cell door creaked open. The small light shining from the lantern was glaringly bright for my eyes, but I was more surprised by the visitor. As Harper made her way toward me, I noticed she held something wrapped in cloth. Without saying a word, she bent down to reveal a roll of bread with ham and cheese inside.
I thought I was dreaming as she slowly handed the food over to me. When I took the first bite, I couldn’t stop myself from moaning in pleasure. “Don’t eat too quickly. You might choke,” warned Harper. I slowed my pace and watched Harper before asking, “Why are you feeding me? Does the Prince know?”
Harper lifted her chin indignantly, but I could see the fear flashing in her eyes. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, she was afraid of facing the Prince’s wrath. Despite that fear, Harper was willing to help me. As soon as I finished my sandwich, Harper finally answered me in a hushed tone, “What the Prince did was not fair. Your friends shouldn’t have died…I didn’t think it was fair to starve you on top of all of that.”
Hearing her say those words brought fresh tears to my eyes. I hurriedly wiped them away as I realized that Father was working on Harper’s heart. Whether she realized it or not, she was ripe for repentance. Then I recalled Father’s last words. Elyon was actively pursuing Harper to save her from the Prince of this world just as He rescued me all those years ago. Then it hit me.
Chef and Narcissa were saved a long time ago, but their deepest desire was for others to know Father and join His kingdom. They both died fully serving the King. How could I not pass on that legacy? Their deaths would not be in vain…
“Melody, why didn’t you just reject your King and accept the Prince as the ruler? That was all that you needed to do,” said Harper. I smiled at her sadly, “Yes, you’re right, but that would have been a blatant lie and a slap to the true Ruler.” I cleared my throat as it began to tighten, “My friends were willing to lay down their lives because that’s exactly what Elyon did for all of us.”
Suddenly, I felt a surge of strength. “Harper, do you remember when you were searching for the Forgotten King’s treasure?” She nodded before I continued, “Father’s treasure is not something you can touch and see like gold and precious stones. It is His faithfulness. No matter where I am, no matter what I’ve done, He is always there for me. Having a relationship with Him is the true treasure.” I took a deep breath before I continued, “Harper, Elyon is ready for you to meet Him and accept Him as the true treasure. Are you ready?”