I've been sitting in my OBs office, and like most women in there, I had a book to read. I was reading Charles Swindoll's book on Esther. In his book I'm up to the point where Esther has been taken from Mordecai because of her beauty and is now being prepared for her introduction to the king. You know, a year's worth of spa treatment doesn't sound too bad, especially on particularly difficult days or days that just wear you out. Some days, let's face it, there just isn't enough Calgon in the world. Last week, Pearce came in the house with mud on his jeans...nothing new, but when I asked him what he had been up to, he said he had been making snowballs out of dirt. THAT'S when I noticed his peculiarly dark tongue. "Pearce, have you been eating chocolate?" I asked wondering where in the world his stash might be hidden. "No ma'am." That's when I realized the little darlin' had eaten...you guessed it -- dirt! Like I said, some days Calgon just doesn't cover all the territory. But if all this primping was for me to be paraded in front of a judge to determine whether or not I was to be queen, I'm afraid I wouldn't be as gracious as Esther.
At any rate, Esther had been taken from what she had known and put into a rather large group of women who could have anything they wanted. Can you imagine the back-biting, the gossipping, etc.? Yet, Esther was able to keep her head and she found favor. Dr. Dobson points out six characteristics of strength and dignity in Esther.
1. Grace-filled charm and elegance -- So desperately missing from the education of our young ladies today.
2. An unusual restraint and control -- The Lord knows I can use all the help I can in this area. However, in the area of keeping secrets or confidences I do well in due to the nature of my job.
3. A continually teachable spirit -- "Someone has said, 'Education is going from an unconscious to conscious awareness of one's ignorance." Pg 47
4. An unselfish modesty and authenticity
5. A kind winsomeness, regardles of her surroundings -- " A person who is winsome draws you to him or to her." pg 50
6. A humble respect for authority
Shortly after her innauguration, Haman starts hatching a plan, an evil plan. He didn't just want to kill Mordecai...this wasn't enough. Have you ever been around someone who was bent on vengence? It's not just enough to get back at the person who has done you harm or wrong, it explodes to include the whole family. Giving full vent to anger and hatred blows things totally out of proportion. That is what Haman did. He didn't just want to kill Mordecai, he wanted to "destroy" the whole race. Sometimes it's not even about vengence. Sometimes it's about holding on to hurt longer than we should. Sometimes it's about not letting go and moving on.
Then to top it off, Haman gives the Jews a good long time to think about their fate. An edict is sent out just to let them know what they have to look forward to. How many of us have dealt with a death sentence? My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in April of 2007. I can honestly tell you there were times when we didn't know our own names for all the stress and information we were given to process. And yet, there are those who are worse off than Stage 3. Some have been told they have 12 to 18 months to live at most. In this scenario, the people were given the life sentence, but God chose to intervene. Just because a death sentence has been given doesn't mean that God can't work in it and through it and overcome it...afterall, He has already conquered death. There is hope in Christ Jesus. Thankfully, my mom received a clean bill of health in April of 2008. I love her oncologist Dr. Hargon who is a Christian. He said he does not give time lines as to when a person may or may not die because he is not God.
Haman was promoted even though Mordecai was the one who thwarted the assassination plan on the king. Where is the justice in that? Life isn't fair, and it doesn't pay to get mad when it isn't because it doesn't change things. I have come to learn that if I do my best, God is faithful to do His best and will take care of it. It all comes out in the wash, as someone once said. Plus, God's timing is perfect.
I'm skipping forward but I'm making notes of things I want to remember to use.
Then I look at Esther, the Bible said she stood before the king. After three days of fasting and praying she stood before the king. She wasn't bowed (she was a Jew who didn't bow to men). She didn't show weakness or fear. She was prepared for whatever was to happen...her life was on the line for what she believed in. In March of this year, I went to Rome, Italy, and I stood in the Colleseum where numerous Christians died for their faith, and it was so overwhelming to me. I wonder how many people who call themselves Christians today would be willing to take a stand for their faith and be willing to die for it and actually go through with it. I wonder. I pray that I would have the strength and determination of Esther.
There's also the famous phrase that Mordecai says in his speech sent to Queen Esther..."for such a time as this." Rev. Swindoll focuses on Esther's character. Mordecai had raised Esther to obey, to be respectful, to have dignity, to have grace, and to know where her value came from. For a man, he done good raising a girl. Esther took those things she learned into her adulthood. She also obtained great courage along the way.
Rev. Swindoll pointed out something I found quite interesting. During the three days of fasting, what was Esther doing? Yes, she was fasting and praying, but she also wasn't idle. In Esther 5:4, it said she had prepared a feast during this time. I don't know about you, but sitting in God's waiting room isn't my most favorite place to be. When my mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, there wasn't one single, solitairy thing I could do to help, to fix, to remedy, or to heal her. In essence, He put me on the sidelines...I hate sitting. Being ADHD, I'm not a good sitter, but Rev. Swindoll points out somethings for those who have been or for those who are in God's Waiting Room --
1. Just because nothing appears to be happening, doesn't mean God isn't at work. He also says, "the adversary wants you to think: 'waiting's a waste'." Pg 98
2. He uses verses Isaiah 41:10,13 and Psalm 32:6-7 and Psalm 32:8 -- He points out that when we wait, we listen.