Sunday, October 20, 2013

Esther

So I finished reading the Old Testament last week. I have been really bad about neglecting my reading this month, and even though I am still hoping to finish by the end of the year, it may not happen. I tend to do less reading when we have company or are gone visiting, because I am out of my routine. The holiday season is very busy in going to see family, and I know I will probably fall a little further behind then. I am OCD enough to desperately want to catch up and finish "on time" but I don't want to rush so that I don't understand or appreciate anything that I have read. So we will see how it goes.  Tonight though, I want to share a few thought from Esther in the Old Testament.

I was interested to learn, that Esther is the only book in the Bible, that the name of God nor a pronoun for Him is not found. Despite a complete lack of his name, you can see his Hand, His providence throughout the book. It is the Providence of God that I have had on my mind a lot lately, that I primarily want to talk about.  Have you ever stopped to consider, and I mean really consider, the Providental care of God? It is something that I have thought a lot on over the last few years, primarily because of our joblessness situation, an experience that I suspect will permenantly affect my world view.  I heard it said, and often comforted myself saying, "This just wasn't the job that God meant for us to have." We filled out so many job applications, I would guess in the neighborhood of a couple thousand in all of that time, Gary had so many phone interviews, there were even several instances where they did in person interviews and he would be in the top three or it would come down to him or one other individual. It was discouraging to see another great job pass us by. I spent a lot of time second guessing and third guessing and gazillion guessing too, if I was doing something wrong in the way I was filling out applications, if Gary wasn't selling himself enough, if there was something else at work. I knew in my head that we were doing everything possible, and that it was just a rotten economy, but I still questioned and doubted.  People would try to be comforting saying that The Lord would bless us with a job at the right time.  And while I do believe He blessed us with this opportunity, I find something almost fatalistic about the idea that we just weren't going to get a job, until the one He picked came along. We don't believe for a minute that God predestines events, but only people's final destiny. So why do we say such things?  We don't believe "the all things" in Roman 8:28 means all things that happen. God doesn't cause murder, there is nothing working for good for us about our own sin. It is disingenuous to claim that God causes or some how needs our sins to accomplish His plan. He often brings about good from such situations despite the fact that we don't deserve such mercy, but He doesn't predestinate us to sin.  "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." (Romans 6:1-2)

My Daddy has the opinion, which Mother laments is so unromantic, that there is not one individual, sole mate, perfect individual out there for each of us. I think they are both right, it isn't all that romantic to say, that there are many people out there that I could be compatible with.  There is no Mr. Right. However, on the other hand, rather than searching for some elusive feeling of love where there will be no problems, but a perpetual honeymoon, think about the idea of actively choosing someone. I didn't have to love Gary, He didn't decide to marry me because of some force beyond his control, we CHOSE one another. Everyday we CHOOSE to continue loving one another. The idea that he could have chosen others, and most likely could have chosen better, but instead picked me is much better than the notion of romance an uncontrollable force that just happens or doesn't or disappears.

So I am sure you are wondering what in the world this has to do with the providential care of God, if you are even still hanging in there with me. And what in the world it has to do with Esther.  I am getting there, let me relate one more story.  I have had many long talks with Daddy over the years, about Churchy things, more and more these conversations happen on the phone. At one point I can recall laying on our bed in Florida, on the phone with Daddy, staring at the Thomas Kincaid wallpaper border, after getting another crushing "I am so sorry but we went with the other guy" from the latest promising job. I can recall asking him about this, and giving a few other seniories, and asking him for his thoughts. Can there really be a particular job out there? I believe in His providence though I don't understand it. I believe that He can and does interfer in our affairs, because He listens to prayer.  I know he guides us and yet, I don't know that he causes such things.  I have mulled over His response many times.  He said that it is his belief that God not only knows what will happen, but that he also knows how every choice we could have made would turn out. In my own limited understanding I imagine it much like the scifi idea of alternate universes, alternate realities.  God is mind bogglingly limitless.  Daddy told me that God could work regardless of which choice we made, because, as he reminded me He is not dependent on us.  He told me that he imagines if we could truly see and understand how much God providentially provides for us on a Daily basis we wouldn't be walking by Faith anymore, because Daddy imagines that God does far more in our daily care than we imagine.  If I could have seen how and why he was caring for us through His providence  while we were out if work, I might have been less stressed, I would have been more lazy, and I wouldn't have been walking faithful, because I would have seen the outcome.

Like I have said, I have thought about Providence a lot since then, I don't fully understand it, but the famous verse in Esther struck me anew all over again at this latest reading.

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.  For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? …. (Esther 4:13-14)

Mordecai isn't saying that God put you here, as a child positions her dolls, but that you have come to this situation, do what is right, and see if God works through you. He is quick to point out that they will be delivered.  Mordecai never doubts that the people will be delivered. Regardless of what Esther chooses to do He will bring deliverance. God was going to Providentially Care for his People, He was and is able to work in any situation.  It is an amazing Truth to ponder.

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