I confess. I’m a royal watcher. I can’t really explain why, except to say that I love the pomp and pageantry. I’m a sucker for beautiful gowns and ancient castles. And I guess I have never really gotten over fairy tales, although as a grandmother to seven granddaughters I have changed the heroines from damsels in distress to strong women. Cinderella finds a sharp attorney to contest her father’s will and ends up inheriting everything. She then goes to law school. Snow White awakens with a passion to go to medical school to study dwarfism. And Sleeping Beauty informs Prince Charming that she is grateful to be awakened, but this kingdom belongs to her, and she will be the one doing the reigning, thank you! Think Elizabeth and Phillip.
So while I loved the fairy tale quality of last Saturday’s royal wedding, I was struck by the iconic image of Meghan Markle standing alone at the top of the steps waiting to walk into that magnificent chapel by herself. She was a confident woman, not a helpless damsel. And even though Prince Charles met her half way to escort her to the altar, he didn’t give her away. She gave herself to her prince.
I had some time to think about these things Saturday afternoon as we were dressing to go to a “real” wedding here in Tulsa. Why do women need to be given away? We are not property or chattel. Now before you decide that I have jumped off the feminist deep end, bear with me. I still consider myself to be a fairly traditional woman. While I still love the picture of the bride on her father’s arm, I think the wording needs to be changed a bit. “Who gives this woman to this man,” seems as outmoded as “ And thereto I plight thee my trough.” Maybe the parents presentthe bride instead of giving her. I haven’t got it precisely worked out yet, but I was thinking about it on Saturday afternoon. So as the bride and her father walked the aisle at the Tulsa wedding I attended, I thought to myself, “Oh no, don’t give her away!” To my surprise he didn’t. “No one gives Katie away. She gives herself.” Katie is a modern woman.
As a counselor who is also a Christian, I frequently talk about marriage being a picture of Christ and the Church. (Although as a wife I can tell you I haven’t always painted a pretty picture.) This conversation usually comes up when one or both parties tell me they are not happy. That is when I tell them marriage is not about our happiness; it is about our holiness.
Christ’s purpose toward me is always redemptive. He is always calling me to Himself, calling me to come aside to holiness, to belong to Him. But no one can do that for me. I must make the decision for myself, to give myself to Him, to take those steps toward Him myself.
As I write these words, I must also say that I believe in the concept of household salvation. In the 16thchapter of Acts, Paul and Silas tell the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household.” Does that mean when the head of the household comes to Christ the rest of the family is automatically saved? No. The offer is extended to all, but each must come alone. However I think it is easier for the household to be saved when the head is a Believer.
Jerry and I have a relative we spoke with years ago about the Lord. He wasn’t ready to repent at that time and he jokingly told us he was counting on Jerry’s dad to get him into Heaven. It just doesn’t work that way. However, I believe that when the parents are Christians, and when they teach their children the things of God, and bring them up in the admonition of the Lord, it is more likely that the whole household will be saved. By the way, this family member later came to trust Christ for himself. Prayers were answered!
When I look at this beautiful picture of Meghan Markle waiting to walk to her prince, I think that is the way it is with each Believer. We must each give ourselves to our Prince. Oh as parents we can dedicate our children in sweet ceremonies. But that does not obtain salvation for them. We actually are dedicating ourselves to train them in the things of God. Each of my daughters individually made their own decision to trust Jesus. I could lead them but I couldn’t do it for them. As a mother, I have “given” my children to God many times as I have prayed over different situations in their lives. I guess I must keep taking them back! And God has told me many times that He loves them even more than I do, and He has reminded me that they have already given themselves to Him. They belong to Him.
You might be wondering how do I do this? How do I give myself to the Lord? How do I come into a personal relationship with Him? By believing Jesus and trusting Him for salvation. You could then say a prayer something like this. “Lord I recognize and confess that I am a sinner, and I have tried to do things my own way. I am lost and I need to be saved. I deserve hell. Please forgive me. I believe that you died as payment for my sin. I believe you were buried and rose from the dead. Thank you. I invite you into my heart to be my Savior and Lord. From now on I want to follow you and do your will.” The words don’t matter as much as the intent of your heart. The words don’t save you. It is faith, the belief that Jesus is Lord and His words are true, it is trusting in Him alone for salvation that saves you.
As much as we may want this for those we love, we cannot do this for them. They must believe and give themselves to God. But when Jesus calls us, when we give ourselves to Him, we can walk boldly into His presence, just as Meghan Markle walked confidently into the presence of her prince. Just think, we can walk to the throne of the King of Kings. As magnificent as the sights of Windsor were on Saturday, they are nothing compared to what awaits us in Heaven!