As soon as the Princess had closed the door on Isaac, Ishmael appeared. He spoke of his longing for her, saying he wanted to be with her and was flying over from Australia. It came as no surprise; she always knew when she was on his mind.
As soon as she got his message, she ran to the King. “Oh no!” she said, aghast. “What is going on? I close the door on Isaac, and there is Ishmael. Now what do I do?” The King replied “You know what you must do. It is time to make that choice we spoke of. Choose ‘the chosen’. Choose him now.”
The Princess scowled. “Do you know what you are asking me to do? The one you have chosen does not want me!” The King was silent. She cried out to the silent King “Isaac does not want me, Ishmael does!” The Princess shook her head, her response a question; “This is so hard. I must choose a man who rejects me?”
Although she wanted the man who wanted her, she knew how wrong that was. Until Isaac appeared, Ishmael had her heart. Now Isaac had her will, and her grudging respect. The King had both her heart and will. It was to Him she looked now. She had not foreseen that Isaac would have a love interest. She had known that Prince Mentor, with his ‘lady friend’ was Isaac right from the start, from the signs the King had given, signs that had been very clear and specific. Prince Mentor himself had confirmed he was Isaac. Bowing to the King, she knew her reply to Ishmael had to be that she was choosing Isaac, which meant choosing rejection. It felt like she was choosing the wrong thing. “Don’t trust your emotions” she counseled herself, as she sang a song the King had made her learn by heart;
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5
She sought the King. “Look, I am going your way, even though I disagree with your choice. I find Ishmael to be far more attractive. He was head and shoulders above the rest, and had no equal in my affections. He was the one who restored my self-esteem and got me back on my feet. Until Isaac came, he had my heart.”
The King replied “You are right not to trust your preference for Ishmael. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
The Princess replied “Yes I agree, and for that reason I will trust you rather than my injured feelings. You know my heart. I have chosen Isaac.”
The King smiled. “Now we wait ….”
She did not have long to wait. Ishmael received her reply and let her go, and even though he was jealous, he wished her all the best with ‘Isaac’. Even though she wanted to run into his arms and tell him in her misery it was all wrong, she had chosen someone who did not exist for her, she held back and kept silent. They would always be friends, and she knew she had his respect. She thought of the choice she had made between Ishmael and Isaac. One knew the King, one did not. One was chosen, one not. One she knew, the other would have to be on blind faith.
The home grown song “Loyal’, written by the New Zealand artist Dave Dobbyn, was on the radio every day – a theme for the yacht races that were being held at this time. To mark this turning point in her life, she dedicated the song ‘Loyal’ to the three of them – Isaac, Ishmael, and the King. The last verses ended with Isaac.
I can’t remember last time I thanked you
Keeping my distance unintentionally
Too close for comfort just ain’t close enough
If I could have more time we would brainstorm
(To the King)
Call me loyal – I’ll say you’re loyal too
I know you’re loyal – I feel your loyal truth
Call me loyal – I’ll hold you loyal too
And we are loyal – Keep it that way
Out in the battle flung far and used
Where does allegiance lie sometimes?
When all of your hopes and all of your dreams
Are too much to value in one moment
And all of us anxious but why hurry love
History’s here and now
Oh, oh and why are you waiting – waiting for what?
The history of some love?
Call me loyal …
We are loyal – haven’t you known me long enough now?
If I could see your heart right now
Maybe there’d be a change or two
Call me loyal … Keep it that way now.
The Princess made her choice. Nothing was said to Isaac. She had gone back to hiding behind her work and professional mask. That same day, Isaac was rejected by his lady friend, telling the Princess about it at work the next morning. Although chastened he did not seem all that upset. She remembered how the King had said “to man belong the purposes of the heart, from the King comes the reply of the tongue” and laughed, making a jibe about Prince Mentor’s map. It must have been wrong because his lady friend had not seen ‘the big sign in the sky”. Isaac looked at her, dumbfounded at her lack of sympathy.
Stung, he replied “Well, there is plenty of choice after Claudia. I already have someone else, but I don’t think you will want to hear that.” He was right! His words found their mark. Angrily she snapped at him; “Why did you even say that? Listen, I don’t give a stuff about your love life! Are you fishing?” His open and honest face was flushed with consternation “Fishing? No …” he replied, as she downed tools and stomped off to the staff room with her coffee cup. Isaac followed her down the corridor. “Why are you angry?” he asked.
‘Not telling you …’ she thought, finding another reason to get mad at him. Who did he think he was – God’s gift to women? Prince Charming, he certainly was not.
The Princess rounded on him in the staff room. “I told you right at the start of our working relationship, leave the man\woman stuff out of work and we’d get along fine. You haven’t done that!” she replied angrily, wishing that once the day’s work was over, the King would send him far, far away. Iceland would be good.
The whole day turned to custard after that. The King was not able to be there in the presence of all that deception, and left them to it. The work did not progress, the day went badly, and she was not there for her children after school. Prince Mentor behaved really badly, and she could tell the King was not with him that day. It took all of her patience to deal with him in her usual smooth manner.
The King told her of her worth, to believe in herself and not to let it get to her. “You are the gold” He said. If that was true, then why could Prince Mentor not see it? Why was he treating her like this? She had been expecting rejection, but could not cope with having her nose rubbed in it. After the Princess was warned he did not want any uncomfortable moments, she had reassured him she was not interested in a relationship. She had no time for anything else but the work and her children. That was the truth at the time. He had not listened.
She went to the King and gave Him the story. “Please, I think this Isaac thing had gone far enough. You heard him. His signs, prophetic words and dreams all pointed to his “lady friend”. If it be your will, then please release him from the story. Let him have what his words have made real. Get me out of this, and find me what I do need. I do not know what you are doing! Is being treated like this what I need? Father, you are hurting me. What did I do that was so wrong that I should be treated like this? I did not ask you for a bad thing.”
Bewildered and lost, she was hurt beyond reason. Isaac plus lady friend had caused her map to make no sense, and if the signs were wrong, now she did not know where she was. It was like she was standing on a hard rock plate that rendered her compass useless. In front of her, all she could see was the vast, trackless desert. With no landmarks or reliable map, there was no way home.
The Princess picked up her shield of faith that bore the symbol of the covenant promise. Her courage returned, and she addressed the King; “Perhaps I was relying more on the signs than I was on you. If the signs, dreams and prophetic words that he has received do not point to me, then my signs must have been wrong. How I do not know, for they could not be clearer. Anyway if my signs were wrong, then please reveal it to me and lead me on a safe path.
I am sorry that I was more interested in the signs being right than I was in this wonderful Prince you found me – please forgive me for the sarcasm. I am sorry I got impatient with him. I know that his rejection of me is not your rejection of me. Anyway, it does not matter, as long as you love me. I do want this prophetic gift, but it is a hard thing to swallow when I see things and know things that I did not wish or choose for myself. Help me to take care when handling your Word.
You know, the desert is not so bad – look at what I have learned in the dry land. Please help me to forget Ishmael, for I know I cannot look back. Please help me to forget Isaac, the one I had hoped for, because I know I cannot look forward.
Iliafi said ‘let the days speak to us’. These days speak to me of Ishmael and Isaac, of rejection and dragons and impossible choices. Help me to slay the dragons and live in the present. I can make it on my own, as long as you are with me. Your shepherds rod and staff, it comforts me.” The Princess bowed and walked away.