Sunday, 28 September 2014

Facing fear

Three days later, Esther goes to the king. Three days of prayer and fasting. Three days, in which Esther has faced the possibility that these might be her last three days left to live.

We think of those other three days, after Jesus had died and seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth, when the disciples' world had ended. Three days of grief.

Esther, too. In those three days, she faces death. Perhaps not for the first time: she endured the death of her former life when she was taken from Mordecai's family, the death of her innocence and purity; the death of her hopes for her future. Perhaps, even then, fearing she might lose her life if she did not please the king. Perhaps she had lived under threats for a long time. Esther was no stranger to fear.

Or, perhaps, her days of prayer and fasting had led her to a renewed faith, a greater sense of God's protection and an inner certainty that what she was doing would end well. Psalm 34:7 says that "God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray."

Whichever it was, Esther had faced and overcome her fears and was now taking action to save her family.

"Three days later, Esther dressed in her royal robes and went to the inner court of the palace in front of the throne. The king was sitting there, facing the open doorway. He was happy to see Esther, and he held out the gold scepter to her.

When Esther came up and touched the tip of the scepter, the king said, “Esther, what brings you here? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.”"

Whitney, at Love God Greatly, says: "But Esther saved the doubt and the drama, and instead responded with:“Then I will go.”

From preparation to service. From out from under the covers and into the hard places.

I want to crawl out from under the covers, don’t you? I don’t want to look back on my life and realize that in all of my hiding and avoiding and wishing hard things away, that I missed out on key opportunities to be used by God. At some point we actually have to get up, show up, and with much wisdom and trust in the One who holds the world in His hands, engage in the hard places He has called us to."

Death, for Esther, does not happen. The king was, after all, pleased to see her. Extravagantly so. (I guess he must have been drunk again. However did he manage to rule such a great empire?)

Esther's mission is destined for success. Even the combined wealth of all the Jews must be far less than the value of half of the Persian empire.

Too good to be true: of course. It was an empty promise. Still, this is a good sign - for the moment. What happens next, though, is not what we expect.

To be continued...

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