Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts From an Old Romantic~ Zachary Tingle

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life. – Prov 31:10-12

            “Papa, when will my Prince come and marry me?” Grace’s innocent eyes queried her daddy’s. Without waiting for the response she continued, “I think he will be big and handsome and he will take me to his castle, don’t you?” Her eyes still sparkled with the anticipation of being swept off her feet and carried off to live happily ever after.
            Laugh lines creased her daddy’s eyes as smiled at his six-year-old daughter’s questions. They had just finished watching Sleeping Beauty and Grace’s imagination soared with the possibilities of who her prince would be.
            “Sweetheart,” he began as he pulled Grace into his lap, “do you remember who your Mama and I told you was the King?”
            Grace nodded her face shifting to the deep gravity only attainable by a child, “Yes sir, God is the King.” Her face morphed to an expression of joy and pride. “But I am His princess.” She finished with a curt nod to reassure any doubt that might have been entertained.
            A light chuckle accompanied the smile that softened her daddy’s face. “That’s right Sweetie, you are God’s little princess. Do you know what being God’s princess means?”
            A small frown creased the skin between Grace’s eyes as she mentally wrestled with the enigma. Finally, after a few seconds of thought her face cleared, “It means I have to marry a prince.” She stated matter-of-factly. “And,” she continued, “you are my knight who has to protect me from bad guys until the prince gets here.”
            This time her daddy’s laugh was full and ringing. Grace didn’t know what was funny but decided she like hearing her daddy laughing and joined him with her small giggle and hugged his broad chest with her small arms. Still chuckling her daddy nodded, “You are exactly right Sweetheart, just don’t forget that.”
            Grace hugged her daddy even tighter, “You’re always gonna be my knight, even after my prince comes for me.”

            Years passed and Grace gradually became more cynical. She no longer believed that a prince would walk into her ever-so-average life and sweep her off her feet, though she still wished for it so badly it hurt sometimes. As she grew she blossomed into beautiful young woman of 16 when the first of many attempts to steal her heart began.
            His name was Chris and he was nothing like the chivalrous prince she had envisioned as a child, but he was cute and popular and he told her how pretty he thought she was on a daily basis. Grace had heard that he wasn’t a good guy, but he was the only one who paid her any attention and she reveled in his compliments (though a few made her blush and tell him not to be inappropriate). When Chris was around she found it difficult to focus on her tasks, always wondering what his astute mind thought of her at the moment. As time went on Grace began to subtly shift the way she dressed and did her hair. She did not necessarily change on purpose, but thoughts of what Chris would think cluttered her mind as she readied herself for school. Grace knew her daddy wouldn’t approve of Chris, but she loved hearing that she was beautiful and that Chris wanted her around. Gone were the days of regarding her daddy as her knight-protector. She lost track of the promise she made to him nearly ten years before in the euphoria of being pursued and wanted. She forgot that she was supposed to be waiting for a prince. She forgot who the King is.

            This story could end in a myriad of different colors. It could end in the soft ivories and warm rose hues of happiness and contentment. But, considering the kind of man Chris is, the story will most likely end in blazing reds of anger, the black of depression, and the grays of indifference to all things romantic. The yellows of cynicism and the greens of jealousy (for the happiness others girls seem to posses) will most likely follow.
            Much of the pain of this encounter could have been averted had Grace remembered a couple of things. The first and most important thing Grace forgot was how deeply the King loves her (John 3:16). In the midst of fleeting admiration from Chris, Grace forgot how much more she is admired the King. The second thing Grace forgot is that she was to be waiting for a prince who would be her husband. Proverbs 31:12 says that an excellent wife will do her husband good all of the days of her life. That is a pretty big statement, it doesn’t say that she will do him good from the day that she meets or marries him. It says all of the days of her life. That means she will be striving to bless her husband by her actions even before they meet.
            I can confidently speak for myself and my fellow princes in Christ. There is nothing more beautiful or attractive than a woman who is secure in how the Lord perceives her and has tried to bless her future husband with her day-to-day actions and decisions. Prov. 31:10 says that her worth is above jewels (which was the most valuable form currency in that day), Lemuel is saying that a woman who fits this bill is more valuable than the most valuable object available at the time. This is the list paraphrased:

-          She delights in working or creating with her hands
-          She knows where to find food when the budget is tight
-          She is up early to make sure everyone is fed and cared for
-          She is business savvy  and knows how to reuse money for gain
-          Her body is strong and fit
-          The supplies of her household never run low
-          She knows how to create (especially were items of the home are concerned)
-          When there are leftovers she is generous to those who are needy
-          She has provided her family with warm clothing for winter
-          She dresses well and provides good clothing for her husband (and he is respected)
-          She carries herself with strength and dignity
-          She is wise and teaches with gentleness
-          She is not idle

This list is pretty crazy, it is not one of those things to try and tackle in one day, or even in one year. This is the list of what a woman will become if she actively seeks to do her husband good all of the days of her life. One of the final lines is the keystone to all of this. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (v. 30). Grace fell into the trap of trying to appear charming and beautiful and did not fear the Lord. I speak from personal experience that a woman who fears that Lord is radiantly beautiful and almost irresistibly charming.
            As Valentine’s Day approaches and we hear and see the elements of romance around, refocus of the King. He has plans to make you prosper, plans that will not harm you (Jer 29:11). The King’s love is so much more complete and consistent than any love a man can give. We (men) are sinful and fallible, but the King is consistent and perfect in His affection for you. Whether the Lord has blessed you with a significant other or not, remember who Love is and to whom our first love is due.

Happy Valentines & God Bless,

P.S. Something to consider: God has given each of your dads to you as protectors and guardians, it will bless both you and him to give him a place in the season of dating or courtship. For those of you who don’t have a dad who follows the Lord, still invite him in (it might be a cool opportunity to share Christ) but also seek Godly male council (preferably a pastor or maybe a best friend’s dad – with her permission of course) on the men in whom you are interested. 

Did you know that Zachary has skied off of a roof?!


  1. Thank you, Zach, for writing a Valentine's Day article that's focused on our Prince - Jesus :) This really blessed me!

  2. Before reading this article, I wrote a poem that is a lot like the beginning of the story. I thought it was really cool how they parallel:

    Every little girl dreams
    Of marrying a prince in a faraway land,
    Or of finding true love
    Right where she's at.

    Little does she know,
    There's One who always loves.
    Who will never go away,
    But will always stay the same.

    That One is Jesus,
    With His arms open wide.
    Trust Him with your life,
    And He will never leave your side.