In my husbands family, we have a phrase when we are driving their car and looking for a parking space: “Remember, we have princess parking!”
Because of health problems that his parents have, they obtained a handicapped parking sign that they put on their mirror which gives them access to those much desired, up-front parking places.
We feel pretty special whipping in those spots as we watch the unfortunates perusing the parking lot for a spot that will give them less travel (though, for sure it is debatable as to which ones are truly the ‘unfortunates’! Bad health is typically not a coveted position to be in!)
This whole scenario takes me back to my early days of my Christian faith when somehow it kept getting grilled in me that because I was a child of the king, that made me royalty! A Princess!
What a thought! The creator of the universe, Savior of the world, adopted me into His family as a daughter, fellow heir of eternity! A princess, so to speak!
I can remember savoring this as such a wonderful thought and taking great liberty with my idea of what this would look like! Shamelessly, in my royal-self-indulgent-naievty, I cruised the mall one day, as I prayed, “Lord, since I am your child, I ask that you give me the best place, right close to the store.” The King would not deny his daughter’s request would he? Isn’t he the one who said “you have not because you ask not?” Or “Ask anything in my name and I will do it for you?”
Oh ugh. I did not pray this because I had an ailment. I did not pray this because I was on a deadline. I only prayed it because I was so enamored in princess power that I thought I would try it out on the heavenly Father and see how it worked!
It didn’t. I hadn’t yet learned the verse in James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
Just like most fathers are patient and understanding of their babies, so my heavenly father, was of me on that day and all those days after, carrying on into today, as I continue to learn how very differently, this royal family operates.
What I have come to learn so far, is very aptly described in the gospel of Mark 10:
35 “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[d] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[e] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I see this exemplified in my friend who has had a tough year, serving so many others who are in need. Just as this new year looks like maybe a season of a lighter load is around the corner, she learns of a woman with children fleeing an abusive husband who needs a place to stay. My friend has the room and ability to help. It may or may not entail taking this woman in, but for sure my friend is praying and seeking how she can best serve, despite her own fatigue.
I think of a Godly man in our church who was in the process of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma, who took us out for ice cream and wanted to know how we were doing and adjusting to life in all of our transitions. We watched him suffer much pain and yet always seemed to try to lighten the load of his loved ones and be gracious towards medical staff despite his circumstances. Even in his lowest points, he was thinking of others.
Royal families typically have everything in place to make their lives comfortable. The riches, the luxuries, the applause. Many of them have no time for unimportant people except where it may look good in the press.
But the King of Kings came to serve. He would go away to rest and end up ministering to the crowds who followed Him. He would be interrupted while on mission by mothers wanting their children blessed by him, stopping to validate them as the most important priority of all. He would take time to love and care about the adulterous woman at the well, another woman who was going to be stoned for the same and countless lepers, poverty stricken and needy people. He ate with tax collectors, and those who others despised. If rich people were seeking truth, he made time for them as well.
He brings the whole princess parking thing into perspective. It isn’t about me getting the best spot. It is thinking about the mother with three children in tow who would be so thankful, if I would leave the spot open for her.
It is about me being patient when the cashier is too slow because maybe she is stressed on her first day trying to learn a new job.
It is not looking out for how people can serve me but for how I can serve them.
If it is good enough for the King, it is good enough for the Princess.
As for me, I am handicapped in many ways but thankfully, He continues to show me where the best parking place is and for sure it isn’t the one up front.