…if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death,
…hold a fast on my behalf…I and my young women will also fast as you do.
Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
Here is Esther’s “fight for faith”.
She hears about all the Jews mourning. It’s depressing and hard news. Sackcloth is a visible sign that all is not well and happy in the kingdom and it is a direct reflection on the king. So the best thing to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Ergo, no one dressed like that enters the king’s gate. If we cover our eyes we are blind to pain or suffering or responsibility.
Boy, does that sound like our world today? For decades the neighbors Christians were supposed to love didn’t expand any further than the people you knew (a thought I gained from Brandon Hatmaker’s The Barefoot Church). Then technology – and our eyes are opened to the poverty, need and every other ill – not just beyond our circle or our neighborhood or city but around the world. It’s overwhelming and we don’t really know what to do with that information. So we close the gates to the distressed and turn our faces inward to those day to day tasks and duties that seem oh so important.
Purposeful distraction dulls the formation of faith.
Next, Esther thinks she can cure Mordechai’s frustration with a change of clothes. We can fix this by covering up how uncomfortable it makes us. Maybe a new news angle will prove it’s not all that bad. It’s an isolated incident and those speaking about it are over-reacting. After all, feeling uncomfortable about our world, when we are safely rescued for heaven, is a threat to our “faith”, right? Won’t it make me doubt or be uncertain or wonder where God is in all this? Heaven forbid I don’t have a 160 character “answer” that proves that God is real and we are okay.
Faith by its very nature includes struggle, doubt and uncertainty.
Now we are getting at it. Esther is terrified. There is no apparent escape for her just by ignoring her people. And in the reality of terror God becomes the only hope. As God is my witness, I live here more than I care to admit. I would rather God just handle it and let me be along for the ride. In truth, He uses terror like a defibrillator to bring my faith back to life.
This is grace – for without faith it is impossible to please God.
So we know we are going to have to follow His lead but we are clueless what that really looks like. Fasting and prayer – how does this possibly work? Who knows – really – but we are desperate to try and find God’s hand to hold. We want all the help we can get because maybe this mystery might not work for us but surely there is someone out there that God will hear. Somewhere in the waiting, in the tension, in the trying hard to focus, in the tears, He calms the storm inside our hearts. He infuses our faith and it comes alive again and beyond belief we trust Him.
Faith is the reward of going through the process and finding we will trust God regardless of the outcome.