I want to know how the girl-Esther lived, the same Esther that became queen, and risked her life to save her people from destruction with the amazing statement, “if I perish, I perish.”
From what I gather, as a child she lost her parents somehow and went to live with her uncle. What were her parents like? How did she lose them? Did she cry on her pillow every night as a girl? Did she have siblings? Were they split up? Was her uncle kind and loving? Or aloof? Was there an aunt at one point? How was her home life?
Then, of course, she grew up and as a young woman was yanked from her uncle, her friends and her home to go live in the king’s palace as one of many women there to serve him for the rest of her life, whether she was chosen to be queen or not. What were her dreams? Did she have a beau? Did she desire her own simple home, a husband, children, a garden? Suddenly it was all gone, whatever her plans were.
All I know is the history of her as written in the book of Esther, and she is described as being beautiful, gracious, kind and humble. Did she ever feel self-pity? Sorrow? Loneliness? Did she ever have a mental temper tantrum or argue with why God was allowing all of this?
I guess (unless she was God…nope!), she had all of these failings and more. And I suppose that unless God had chosen her to traverse through these painful paths, she may have never been shaped to become the godly and courageous woman and queen that she did. Today an elder said, in church, “Whom God chooses, He chooses. And whom He chooses, He uses. And whom He chooses, He chisels.” I am certain Esther was painfully shaped to become the woman that God would work through, at “such a time as this”.
It’s so difficult to dream dreams and see them die, and certainly I have not had the sorrows many, many women and mothers have lived through and are living through….mothers without food to nourish their starving children…women beaten by the husbands that are supposed to tenderly love them…wives whose husbands suddenly die in the midst of a full and busy life with small children…and so much more. But the minor things sometimes hurt, too, and we wonder what God is doing in our lives, and sometimes we’re proud enough to demand an answer from Him.
I think that godliness does not come apart from pain and sacrifice, from humility, from loosing the fingers around the grip we think we have in control of our own lives. The question is, do we really want to reflect God’s glory? Really? If we are honest, we may say “yes, we want that….if we can get it via comfortable and agreeable means that are on our own timeframes and undertaken in ways that we fully understand and at least get partial credit for.”
If young Esther knew that as a woman she would save her people from destruction and be a beautiful and courageous, godly woman who inspired God’s people still thousands of years later…would she have chosen to walk through the valley of death? I think pain is a fearful (and *painful*!) thing, and it is difficult to choose that sort of path even if we were given the choice of seeing the wondrous fruit that would be born from it. In that sense, it is a good and gracious God that sovereignly gives us these things in His timing and in His wisdom, to get us to where we really in our hearts want to be: close to Him and glorifying Him with our lives.
Are you living a life you didn’t plan? Aren’t we all, in varying ways? I am. A lovely woman told me today that some days it takes just focusing on what is on your plate today…or this hour…or this minute…and just doing the thing that needs doing at that very time. God is at work and His presence is near in it all. Let us trust His word on the matter and trust the hands that made us, to finish the work in us that He’s begun. The end of it, I know it, will be glorious.
Running the race with you all,