ARTICLE: The Prince and the Priceless | Nije A Thomas, USA

Every girl holds a dream. In her dream, she is a princess, and the man of her dreams is a prince. He comes wrapped in shining armour and cuts through walls of thorny rose bushes to gain her. But as fairy tales fade and yearnings mature, she has less desire for charms and armour. Through years that bring toils, troubles, joys, and sorrows, her prince takes on a different set of virtues. These are patient endurance and loving-kindness, the cardinal virtues fit for a true prince.

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I read about a prince in the Old Testament, his name is Job. A prince among his people. The greatest man among all the people of the east (Job 3:1). He is wealthier than many men of his time, perhaps even Abraham. He owned camels, sheep, oxen, donkeys, and servants in the thousands. Job is also a prince in piety. Despite his possessions and position, he feared God. He worships and acknowledges Him in word and deed. He wakes up before dawn and intercedes for his family (Job 1:5). He sends for his children, gathers them around, and offers sacrifices for their behalf. He teaches them to fear God and to shun evil. Job submits to God when all around him is bliss and bling. He is a rare gem and a true prince.

Then trouble hits. The situation is so great and severe that the prince is torn to pieces as a fragile vessel smashed to smithereens. Job loses all that he has, including his health and children. His glory burns down as in rapid-fire. He is broken and inconsolable. His poor wife is also overwhelmed by grief. To end Job’s misery she said “Curse God and die”. I hear her words and gasp. I wait for Job to pounce on her or curse her to hell in rage. But I am mistaken. He is a prince, no ordinary man. But Job chose to look up. Even with his eyes swollen with sorrow, there is no hint of rage or scorn in him. His gaze overflows with love and kindness. “You are talking like a foolish woman……” he says to his wife (Job 2:10). Job is gracious in her brokenness. He gauges her words and says they are unlike her; she is no foolish woman. He affirms that she is a woman of wisdom who can accept troubles from God as well as good (Job 2:10). Perhaps she understood his retort and realized that she has uttered mindless words. Here is godliness unveiled in patient endurance. Here is piety clothed in tender mercies. Job is a prince in godliness, and I am drawn to him. I often think of that day when I finally get to meet this great prince. That day I will take both his hands in mine and shower them with kisses.

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Yet there is one that surpasses Job. One that surpasses Job and all the princes of all times. Before Him, Job’s piety blurs and fades away. If I were to speak of him, my words won’t suffice to describe him. His love is incomprehensible, His kindness incomparable, and His patience inimitable. I was a corpse; disfigured and foul in my rotting flesh. So great was His love that this prince took off His robes of glory and put on the likeness of me, sinful flesh. He raised me from the dead and made me alive. And because of His great love for me, in the richness of His mercy, he made me alive with Christ when I was dead in sin and saved me by His grace (Ephesians 2:3-5). He gave His life in gruesome death so that I may live His abundant life. I am loved, I am cherished. I am made heiress to inheritance and princess in His Kingdom. Who can understand such gallant love? Who can apprehend such great grace? My soul yearns and even faints at the thought of Him (Psalm 84:2). He is the Prince of princes and Lord of lords, the fairest of ten thousand upon ten thousand and brighter than the midday sun. I long to gaze upon His beauty and be satisfied with seeing His face (Psalm 17:15). This is my hope and one desire. This is Job’s hope and one desire. So, together we boldly proclaim, “I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:27).

Nije A. Thomas

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