Wednesday November 11, 2015
Short posts to inspire and encourage
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
So what else can we learn from Esther’s story and what made the difference when the pressure was on, both as a young girl brought to the Kings palace against her will and as Queen, when she was asked to do the near impossible.
While affliction is a major test of character, so too is privilege and power. Esther dealt with both.
This is what I noticed
Esther was teachable. In an uncertain and confusing situation Esther followed the advice given her by both Mordecai (2v10) and Hegai (2v15) two people she knew who had her best at heart, who she trusted with her life. She didn’t assume she knew it all. She didn’t get all defensive and try to go it alone which we can so easily do at times. She listened up big and heeded the advice offered her. We don’t naturally want to reveal our frailties or our needs, sometimes we don’t want to even face them ourselves. It takes humility and courage to receive help and to take advice but it will pay for itself ten times over.
She didn’t get uppity In verse 20 we see that even after she was made Queen, Esther continued to follow Mordecai’s instruction “just as she did when she was living in his home”. That’s no small thing. In such a privileged position she could have so easily been dazzled by notions of her own importance. Queen Vashti had and many have followed. As Queen, Esther could have easily dismissed Mordecai’s instruction as well meaning but naive and – – she almost did (4:9-11) Yet we see her remain humble, loyal, answerable and accessible to the person who knew her before she was Queen and who could call her to account for her actions. We all need someone who we trust with our life, who knows what we are like at home when the shines worn off us, a person who can call us out and ask the hard questions when we need it.
Esther took a harsh reprimand on the chin and we all know that’s never easy. We get our backs up, we want to defend ourselves and explain our reasons. Esther had some exceptionally good reasons for staying quiet and sitting tight but Mordecai was having none of it. He spoke plain “Don’t think your so important and special you’ll be spared, you and your line will perish along with everyone else. But – – – maybe this is why you are here, maybe this is your moment, so you best be doing it” We like our excuses and our reasons for staying put and not doing that thing we know we should do, some of them valid, some of them fiction but none of them undo what He’s asked us to do. Is it to love the unlovable, go when you want to stay, speak when you want to stay silent, give when you think you have nothing, forgive when you want to hate or show up when you just want to hide. To receive a reprimand graciously, to let someone speak into our lives, to adjust and rethink and reboot, to ask God’s forgiveness instead of taking offense is a good and Godly thing and keeps us on track and moving forward instead of being caught up on the sidelines.
Esther prayed before she acted. Now theres a lesson in life. She prayed and fasted and got all her friends and her people to pray and to fast – three days worth – before she made a move. She needed more than human courage for this one. She didn’t fly off with a “lets get this thing done” bravado, it wasn’t done glibly or lightly. A God idea will always wait a day or two, it will allow room for prayer and for drawing close to God – our peace. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14) .
Some situations require more of us and we require more of God.
So how did Esther handle what life handed her. She grieved what she had lost but grief didn’t call the shots. She embraced what she might gain, the good that might come. She heeded good advice and stayed answerable, humble and teachable. She took it sweet when she faced a reprimand. She prayed and got others to pray with her. She chose calling over comfort even though it might cost her everything.
It put’s me in mind of this.
To become first we become last (Matthew 20:16)
To lead we serve, (Mark 10: 43-45)
And to gain our life we give it away. (Matthew16:25)
No easy thing, so much easier said then done all of it and I’ve got such a long way to go but in our wanting our lives to reflect God and not just us, in wanting Christ’s clear and steady light shining out of us, we embrace the life He’s called us to in all it’s shades and colours and make the tough decisions over the comfortable ones. We wait in His presence, we rely on His strength, we do none of it alone.
“Reveal to us our own assignment and empower us to do our own thing well. Give us the courage to define our own margins, to be people with a strong no and a thoughtful yes. Encourage us as we wait for results. Comfort us as we listen in the darkness. Slow us down in Your presence we pray” Emily P Freeman
When you believe you are the Beloved, you begin to see love notes in the impossible. Ann Voskamp
Wishing you a beautiful Wednesday
Linking up today with Three Word Wednesday