Monday, December 29, 2014

Contemplating Esther

So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. - Esther 2:8 (NKJV)

As of late, I find myself contemplating this particular part of scripture in Esther. The Bible leaves me a lot to ponder in this situation, and though I certainly trust that God included what was most important in the collecting of this story, I also find it somewhat cruel in a way that what I want to know is missing...

Suddenly, all of the most beautiful women in the kingdom are gathered up to compete in what we would now call a beauty pageant - all so that the king might choose his new queen from them. And, spoiler alert, Esther impresses pretty much everyone, including the king, and is named queen. The God uses her to save His people. She was put into that place at that time for a purpose. (And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? - Esther 4:14 NIV)

I don't want to undermine what God has done here... but I can't help but want to know: how did she cope with her life suddenly reeling out of her design and into something she had never imagined [or had never dreamed, or maybe something she had never even wanted]?? And that seemingly small tidbit of information is missing.

Did she weep? Did she cry out? Did she once dream of being a simple wife and mother? Did she have a crush on a young man in the village where she lived? Were her hopes crushed? Were her dreams shattered? Did she mourn the death of the life she thought she might have? And if so, how long did it take?

... or did she gracefully accept the change? Is that why it's not mentioned: because she accepted her change of "fate" without a blink of an eye?

I can't help but wonder. Because I find myself relating to her - I am standing at a point in my life where the world is promising me that my life will change in a way that I never ever even remotely conceived. By the Grace of God alone, I am coming to terms with this "fate"... but I am also lamenting the loss of dreams that will never be, time that will be lost, responsibilities that will be gained, and injuries that will have to be overcome...

I know with absolute certainty that God will sustain me, that God has a plan, and that He is working in me. I am not so much afraid for my wellbeing as I am afraid of the pain and heartache that will come... Because the fact of the matter is that I don't want to change; I don't want to relinquish the life I seem to think I could have had.

Maybe Esther was raised accept God's Divine Plan with more grace than I have been. Maybe I am too accustomed to getting my way all the time. Perhaps that is the heart of the problem... It's not that I don't trust His Plan for me... He has led me to greener pastures every single time I have had the sense to let go and just jump into His arms...

But that's the hangup; how do I let it go? And this is where I wish I knew what Esther did. How did she give up her dreams and gracefully accept being married to one of the most notorious kings in history, just one woman among a multitude of concubines? In the end it was beautiful; she saved her people. But what about her heart?

... I will have to continue digging...

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