We woke up yesterday, and decided that we would go visit Chateau de Versailles, the famous palace of the French Kings. The gal at the front desk said it was a 45 minute train ride from the Eiffel Tower, so we got ourselves down there and settled in on the RER train. However, about two stops in, they said “terminus” and we found ourselves at the end of the line. It seems the train doesn’t run directly to Versailles on the weekends, so we had to take a bus to pick up the train at a different station.

The bus toured us through the business center of Paris and on into other small villages on its outskirts. It was charming, and gave us a peek at how the “real people” live. Finally, after about 2 hours, we found ourselves before a massive golden gate, encompassing an over-the-top gilt courtyard.

(This is where my picture is supposed to insert, but won’t because of ridiculous Parisian wifi)

The opulence of all that gold was a little much to take in, but it was just a small taste of what was inside. Room after room of gold, marble, priceless paintings adorning every wall and every ceiling, and a “chapel” rivaling many cathedrals. Added to by every successive King Louis, the estate grew to its massive proportions, with acres and acres of gardens and grounds, walking mazes, and quiet pools for contemplation. The King and Queen were never alone, constantly attended in every (EVERY) moment and obligation, down to dining every night on display to the public.

When Marie Antoinette came on the scene as just a teenage girl, the King gave her a small estate at the far back of their property where she could go to get away from the pressures of the court. The house was much smaller, but still grand, with room for her attendants, etc. However, she wanted a place where she could just “be.” So she built a little something just for her: A rural country village and working farm, all with thatched roofs, wood and plaster, where she would often dress as a peasant and invite only her closest friends.

(Again with the pic and wifi)

We all know that poor Marie was not well-liked and eventually met an unfortunate demise. But I found myself thinking of her with compassion all day. There is not a one of us that was meant to live set high above the rest of humanity. There is no one made to be worshiped that way, save for One. In our heart of hearts, I believe we know this, and if we spend much time trying to climb to a position of power and lavish opulence, we’ll quickly find out that it comes at a price. We’ll find ourselves craving the simplicity of a common life…living for the only One who is worthy of a lavish palace.

Our very uncommon God.

As we were leaving the estate to find our way back to Paris, I saw the late day’s sunlight peeking around from the back of the palace. I grabbed my camera and walked around to the gardens, where I was gifted with real, true opulence and the only gold gilt I will ever need.

A sunset made by and fit for the ONLY true King.

“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only true God, be all glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 ESV


(You can see all the pics later, on Facebook! Hopefully!!)