Thursday, 4 August 2016

 The Others.

You are not the only one in your story.

The story of Esther is about a king who spends 180 days holding a banquet to show off his wealth and ends up banishing his wife for refusing to present herself at his feast, to show off her beauty to a room full of drunken men. Esther, who is a common Jewish girl, wins his favor after being one of many girls in the Persian provinces taken to essentially compete for the role of new queen and they are married. She was an orphan, raised by her cousin Mordechai, a man of integrity, who refuses to bow before anyone apart from God. This enrages Haman, a man caught up in his own title and pride, and he creates a law in order to be rid of all Jews, because if Mordechai does not respect him then surely none of his Jewish people do. For Mordechai he plans an especially vengeful death. Regardless, Mordechai encourages Esther to take a stand. And through Esther’s courage to confront both the king and Haman, she finds favor, an entire nation is saved, and she remains at the end of it all, knowing that such favor is only won by God.   
I tried so hard to put into words for you all that I had learned. But it didn’t sound pretty, it sounded like a story half told, with too many words and a life moral tacked on the end to give reason for the story being told. The more I tried the more I wanted you to know the others. Because the story I wanted to tell, the story of Esther, it was never just about her.
I wanted to tell you the story of queen Vashti; who refused the request of the king to present herself before a room of drunken men to show off her beauty. Instead choosing to preserve her dignity even though she knew she would be rejected for it. A rejection that ended in her being banished, never allowed in the presence of the king again. A rejection that she knew would come.
I wanted to tell you of a humble man of faith, Mordechai; raising his orphaned cousin Esther in a way that mirrored his own solid faith in God, preparing her for her future. Who offered continual encouragement despite the fact that she was taken away. Who kept her accountable for the position she now held. Who spoke into her time and again that she had the power within her to do something. Who modeled his encouragements, refusing to give into bowing before a man as corrupt as Haman.
I wanted to tell you about Haman; who couldn’t stand not being the centre of everything, whose pride was the reason for his murder. He retaliated, with vengeance, against people like Mordechai, who did not feed his idealized sense of self and his selfish desires. He not only held himself above others, but pushed those below him down further.
Something in me wanted you to know that from the first moment God had a plan; a story intricately woven, where the stakes were as high as death for everyone involved.  I wanted you to know that no one’s life was isolated from anyone else’s. Everyone was acting out of the influences they surrounded themselves with. Haman, an arrogant man with murderous thoughts surrounded himself with people who told him how to murder. A king acted out of what he was told other people wanted, and Mordechai lived out a faith and spoke encouragement so another could follow.
With all my heart I wanted you to understand that before Esther had purpose she was being prepared.
Not the sort of prepared that leaves you fearless, no one is fearless, even she tried to ignore what must be done. But the courage of Esther was more about the God she relied on, and the power his name held. The only name missing from the story, the only name searched out when everything reached the climax, the only name beside her and before her as she walked toward what was supposed to be her death, which had her standing alone. Such courage it would have taken.
Be a Vashti, stand for what you believe is right and do not waver.
Be a Mordechai, live a solid faith and be an encourager for the faith of others.
And be an Esther, walk towards your future and purpose with a faith that lays everything out for God to use.
Perhaps this is the closest I will come to telling Esther’s story, and the story of the others. But know this, in everything, hold to your faith, and you will be the one that remains.

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