I once was a girl, in love with a Prince. He was fairest among all men, and His goodness and His mercy were ever present with me. We had a love that surpassed all understanding, and a joy that was unspeakable, a peace that lived in my soul. We would walk in the morning light, and whisper to one another upon the winds of the day. One day, while I was waiting for Him in my garden, a dark knight came to take me away. From whence he came I do not know. He appeared with sword and chains and weapons of his world. He took a hold of my garments, and dragged me to the ground. I fought and I struggled but he overcame me. He bound my hands with iron and my feet with shackles. I cried out for rescue, for my Prince to save me, but my cries became weak and fell like dew upon the forest floor.
The dark knight picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. I saw the garden where I met my Prince grown smaller and smaller. This knight was swift as a dragon as he carried me across the land. I looked for hope, for some idea of where he was taking me, but my eyes became weary, and a haze appeared over the land. My tears for help, for hope, for rescue fell silently to the ground. “Why have you come?” My voice rasped out. “Why have you come for me?” The dark tightened his grip upon me. He stopped at a cliff and then he spoke, “Because you let me.” My confusion and my fears overtook me, and I fainted upon his shoulders.
I awoke to the sound of cries in the night. I was being dragged through a tunnel, my garments tearing upon the jagged rocks below me. I looked around but only darkness was near. A whimper escaped from my lips as a rock cut into my flesh. My captor stopped and turned to look at me. His gaze was intense upon me, and I shuddered at the emptiness that was behind his eyes. He bent over and picked me up, steadying me on my feet. “Come”, he said, “Not much farther now.” I heard cries for help, pleas coming from behind the rocks. The deeper we went into the depths of the darkness, the more my heart began to grow faint of hope.
“Tell me, dark knight,” I whispered, “Where are you taking me? Where am I?” His grip upon my forearm tightened, but I fought against him. He turned upon me; I could feel his breath upon my face. “Resist me not, fair lady; for I am only taking you where you asked to go.”
“I have not asked to come here.” I desperately cried, struggling to loosen his grip upon me.
“Yes, yes you did.” He shoved me ahead of him, and my hands scraped against the rocky wall. I cried out in pain, and the tears began to fall upon my face. “Quit your crying. Move!” He shouted at me.
“Where are you taking me? Please, please, tell me where I am.”
“All will be revealed to you in good time. Walk.” He grabbed my wrist and we began walking again. As we walked, the cries for help became quiet laughter, mocking me as the dark knight led me deeper into the darkness.
I saw a light, a small glimmer that shone through the darkness. A tiny flickering flame upon a cleft in a rock, but it was hope. It was light, it was a glimmer of rescue in the darkness of the tunnel that I had been taken captive to.
“Get in.” The dark knight spoke. I heard the sound of iron being dragged across the craggy floor of the tunnel.
“Where am I? What is this place? I do not understand?”
“Just, get in.” His angry voice echoed off the walls that had been hewn out into a cell. He shoved me into the cave, and I fell to the ground. My knees felt the sting of warm blood as my flesh tore upon the rocks. I cried out in pain as the iron bars slammed shut. I looked up but my captor was gone. I pulled myself up from the cold cell floor and looked around. I saw the light, the small flicker of hope to my right. I walked towards the light, where it shined through the darkness. I tried to reach my hand through to touch it, but my chains held me back.
My tears began to fall again, like clouds heavy with rain they burst upon my cheeks. I cried out into the emptiness of my cell, “Why has this happened?” Hour upon hour my tears came; only the shadows from the tiny light were my company.
“Why are you crying?” A voice whispered to me. I wiped my tears from my face and replied, “I have been taken captive by the dark knight, and I do not know why.”
The voice laughed softly, “Oh, but you do know why. You let him in, so he came and took you away.”
“But I did not. I did not let him in. I have never known this dark knight, I have never met him. How could I have allowed this to happen to me?” I pulled myself up from the floor and walked to the sound of the voice. “Who are you?” I asked as I felt my way around in the shadows.
“I am one much like you. I too was once a child of the Prince.”
“Then you know Him. You know my Prince.”
“Yes, I knew Him once. But the dark knight came to me in images and in dreams, and I was enticed away much like you, my sister. Do you not remember the images that appeared to you whilst you were away from your Prince?”
Images flooded my mind of the days I spent apart from my Prince, the days He asked me to meet Him and I chose to do something else, to go somewhere else. Memories of time spent without Him began to fill my broken heart. “But, my Prince said He would never leave me, that He would always be with me. I had no reason to fear, because He would always be present with me.”
“Yes, that is true, but He did not leave you, you left him.”
“I was taken captive! I had no choice! What was I to do? The more I tried to get away, the tighter the chains became. The dark knight took me by surprise. Who are you? What is your name?”
“My name is Fallen, because that is who I am.”
“Why has the Prince not come for you? Did you not cry out for Him, did you not ask Him to come and rescue you? Why has He not come?” Fallen stepped out of the shadows and walked towards me. I felt his breath upon my face, the putrid smell of death was upon his clothing. I tried to turn my face away but he grabbed my cheeks between his blistered and scabbed hands.
“I wanted to cry for Him, but He would never have come.” He pushed me away and said, “What makes you think He will come for you? I was once His, but now I am Fallen, who I was with Him is gone. Why are you so certain that He will come for you? You put yourself here, you allowed the dark knight to carry you away captive. You wanted this more than Him. Why would He come for you?”
I felt the hope of my rescue begin to slip from my heart. I turned my back to Fallen and felt the tears begin again. My Prince had promised me that He would never leave me, I told my heart. Do not fear, for He will come. I may have left Him but He has never left me. I may have turned away, but He will always find me.
“He will come, Fallen. He will come and you will see, we shall be rescued, we shall be set free.”
“Free, what makes you think I want to be free?”
I turned to him, the bitterness of his time in the prison shone in his eyes. “You want to be free?” I asked. “You want to go back to the light and walk with Him again, do you not?”
Fallen walked over to the hole in the rock and placed his hand in front of the light. He paused and studied the light as it reflected off his fingers. “This is enough light for me.”
“Our Prince shall come, Fallen. He shall rise up against all those that rise up against Him. He shall come and rescue us from these rocky cells and shall cover us with His wings. He shall set free the chains that bind us. Do you not know that He is able to break down the bars that hold us; He is able to hewn out weapons from these rocks and battle the dark knight? He will come, and we will once again have a future and a hope. No longer will we be captives, but we shall be made free.” I ran to where he stood and took his face in my hands. “Fallen, there is still hope. We must not let hope go.”
As I said these words, Fallen walked away, back into the shadows and was no more. I looked for him but he was gone. “I will not give up hope”, I said to the rocks beside me. “I will not give up hope.”
A wind rushed through the tunnel, the sound of a mighty wind roared upon the rocks and whistled through the crevices. The light from the hole in the wall flickered and grew brighter. I ran to the light and looked.
“Why do you still choose to stay captive to these chains, my love?” His voice, I heard His voice. My Prince, He was here to rescue me.
“My Prince, you have come. Oh please free me from these chains that I may be free with You once again. I knew you would come!”
“Why do you still stay bound in these chains I have broken? Why are you still behind the bars I have lifted?”
“What do you mean? I was taken captive by the dark knight. I was bound and carried away. I cannot get free. I have tried, and I fought against them, but the dark knight has cast me into the darkness and I cannot see to get out. Help me, my Prince. Set me free.” I could smell the sweetness of His redemption as it wafted through my cell. Oh how sweet and lovely my Prince is.
“I have freed you, my love. I have set the chains that bind you to dust, why have you chosen to stay?”
“I cannot get free. The chains,” I looked down at my chains but they were gone. “Where have they gone, my Prince. They were there, but now they are gone?”
“All you have to do is come to Me, follow the sound of My voice and step out of this prison you have chosen.”
“How do I step out of this cell? How do I come out of this dungeon? You have freed me, but I cannot find my way out. Show me the way to freedom; reveal the way I am to go. Do not leave me here, but lead me to the light of Your glory and grace. Give me the keys to freedom so that I may walk above these chains, that I may walk above this prison in newness of life with You.”
“Take my hand; listen to My voice leading you. Follow the light of My torch, be free my love, be free.” I took His hand and my prison cell was filled with light. I looked around me and stopped. I was in my garden, I was in the place we met and talked and loved. The tears began to fall again, tears of shame and regret. All this time I was in our garden, but because I had given into the temptations of the dark knight, his deception kept me from my Prince.
“Why has this happened? Why did you let me be taken captive?” My Prince looked upon me, His face shone like the sun in the noon day. His hand cupped my face and He said, “Child, do you not remember what I told you? Do you not remember My Words to you? I told you to be careful, to be wary. The dark knight is tricky and would draw you away. With his enticing words and fancy images, he would make you chose other things than Me.”
“Turn my eyes from evil things. These words were warnings, and I did not heed Your Word. Forgive me, my Prince. Forgive me for turning away from our meeting place; forgive me for not heeding Your warnings and Your word.”
“Child, you are forgiven. The dark knight will come like a lion and will seek to destroy you and what we have together. You must resist him, if you resist him he will flee, for he has no power over Me.” He pulled me close and hugged me tight. I felt the light of His forgiveness heal my cuts and my broken heart. He took my hand in His and we walked once again in the garden of His grace. Turn your eyes from evil things, for the dark knight seeks those whom he may destroy. You will not see him coming, but if you heed the Word of your Prince and seek Him always, then the dark knight will never have power over you again. Amen and Amen.