Let’s consider one such saint in particular: a beautiful child full of faith named Susanna. She’s six years old. Her name signifies a lily, and she’s as precious as a fresh morning flower– blonde hair, blue eyes, and in love with Jesus.
The year is AD 404, and Susanna’s entire family has been chosen to entertain the wicked Roman emperor and a host of heathen. Within a few minutes Mom, Dad, little Jeremiah and Susanna will be dead. The family has been given the opportunity to recant their faith in Christ. “Deny Him and live,” they are told.
“Impossible,” they humbly respond, “He (Jesus) is everything to us.”
“Then you shall die as fools. Prove to us how much your love for Jesus means!” Susanna is first. Two brawny soldiers, clutching her tiny arms, hastily lead her away. In a cold, dingy room a stinking lambskin is stitched to her clothing. At a distance she has the appearance of a scared animal. Upon closer examination, she is more frightened than words can express. Then she is led to the arena floor. The crowd roars its approval. Who can bear to watch the scene unfold? There she is, in a sprawling stadium, all alone. Her parents turn their heads from the horror. Thousands watch in earthly approval below while a heavenly host watches from above. One waits above for her heavenly arrival.
The starving lions are released. The ravenous beasts haven’t eaten for two days. Within a second they spot their prey. Suddenly, like a torrential rain, fear floods the heart of little Susanna. THIS IS REAL! I’M ALL ALONE. MOMMY AND DADDY ARE NOT HERE TO HELP ME. I’M GOING TO BE EATEN BY THAT LION. Tears begin to fall. One of the animals begins to charge, and the little girl is no match. Her right arm is ripped off as she tries to flee. The pain is unlike anything she’s ever experienced. The roaring of the crowd drowns out her cries for help. She falls to the ground. The other starving killers move in. Like vises, their jaws clamp down. Within minutes, it’s over. Who’s next? They call for little Jeremy.
Excerpt taken from the book “Time to Weep” by Steve Hill, published in 1997.