She was parked just two cars down from us, a pretty African-American lady dressed in a shimmering top, her hair pulled back with a sparkly head band. Though she was dressed for beauty she moved slowly and had a bit of a tired, feeling-low look about her. I knew why in an instant. Resting in her cart was the tell-tale sign for sleep deprivation— an infant car carrier; complete with sleeping newborn.
Grace is at the age of loving to see babies so as soon as she took notice of the pair she began to shout “Baby! Baby! Wanna see da’ baaaaaby!”
“Ok,” I said as we walked toward them. “We’ll ask if we can see the baby.” As we approached the infant’s mom she was sluggishly loading her SUV.
“May we see your baby?” I asked as Grace squealed happily.
“Of course.” She said in a kind, but quiet and sleepy voice.
We admired the precious bundle. Grace was quick to point out his little toes. The mother said “You wanna touch his toes? You can touch his toes.”
Gracie reached into the infant carrier and gave his toe a squeeze, and squeaked in delight; “Ooooo. It’s a baby’s toes!”
At this point Doug was finished loading our car so I said to Grace, “Say ‘thank you!’” And Grace immediately chimed with “Tank-u!” The lady stopped to wish us a “Your welcome” and gave us a kindly “Good-bye.” To which Grace smiled and said, “Bye-bye Pwincess!”
The young mother’s jaw dropped slowly in astonishment. “What did she say?” she asked her head tilted inquisitively.
I replied, “She said Bye-bye- Princess! She called you a princess!”
The young woman’s mouth closed and I could see her swallow a lump in her throat as she managed, “Oh- my, that is soooo sweet!”
We waved bidding her good-bye, and as I looked back I saw a little more energy, and a lot more smile on her mother-weary face. Doug said to me, “I think Gracie just made that lady’s day!”
Grace is in the habit of referring to all females as “Princesses,” particularly if they are in a dress or something sparkly. I remember one day we were walking though a parking lot and a very overweight woman walked by us. I am not meaning to sound uncharitable, but she was what today’s culture would readily reject in its definition of “beauty.” But she was wearing a long flowing skirt and, as we walked by her, Grace said: “It’s a Princess!” The woman did a double-take and I smiled at her as I said to Grace, “Yes, she is a princess!” The woman glanced downward walking quickly away trying to hide a smile as if to imply she was somehow unworthy of the title. And my heart felt a little sad for her. How many other princesses and princes in disguise are rushing around in our world, judged by its standards or weighed down by its demands, forgetting their real identity?
In Christ we are a new creation. We are adopted into God’s family. We are sons and daughters of the One True King. In those down moments either in temptation, or when the voice of the enemy tries to define you as something you are not, when the world and its culture or heavy demands weigh down on you, remember to whom you belong! You belong to The King of Universe, and he is enthralled with your beauty! He said so himself…
Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. (Psalm 45: 10-11)
This Psalm is an allegory for us all. We (Christ’s church and each individual within) are represented by the “daughter.” We are beckoned to listen to this advice, this wisdom and good news. First, we are directed to forget our old lives and our old ways (forget your people and your father’s house.) In Christ we are made new!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly King, we leave behind the judgments of the world. We leave behind our sinful selves, attachments and pursuits. We throw away all our old idols that we may give the Lord our whole hearts. It is reminiscent of the Biblical notion of “leave and cleave.” Where a couple will leave their families and then cleave to each other. We in essence are to cleave to Christ. To reject the judgments of the accuser and remember to whom we belong. In doing so we have Christ’s righteousness thrust upon us, and to him we are beautiful. He is taken with us. He delights in us. He seeks our company because he is enthralled with our beauty. One commentary I read put it as such: “… and this beauty is not natural, nor acquired… but what is given… it is not an outward, but an inward beauty; nor is it fictitious, but real…” (1)
It is real. This is no feel good platitude. This is the solid, extravagant love of God lavished on you. Do not let the world pull you down. The exhaustion of your work, the hurts you face, the or the din of a culture screaming to you that you are not enough… good looking enough, rich enough, smart enough, strong enough…. It is not true.
You are a treasure in the arms of Christ.
And because he is so extravagantly devoted to us, we ache to love him in return. We are further beckoned in the Psalm: “Honor him for he is your lord.” This is not a bowing down to an unworthy lord, for he is not a lord of tyranny, but one of gentleness, with the power to protect us, and replete with the ability to fulfill all our desires. He is the ultimate hero… love Arragorn and Mr. Darcy as I do, there is no greater hero!
But, we cannot just call him savior; we must also allow him to be our Lord. To remember him and honor him as our Lord is to remember to whom we belong.
You were created for a royal purpose, so trade in the torn and tattered rags of this world for the rich luxuriant robes that will clothe you with strength and dignity. You belong to the king. He is enthralled with your beauty. Quit hiding your crowns, sons and daughters of the King! Lift your heads up high as you turn away from the old life, the judgment and demands of the world. You are heirs and heiresses to the Kingdom of God, so go out into the world to claim your royal destiny as sons and daughters of the one true King!
As I bid you farewell today, I want you to remember WHO you are and WHOSE you are…
So to you fellas I say: “Farewell, Prince!
And to you ladies: “Bye-bye, Princess!”
(1) www.crosswalk.com, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on Psalm 45