Today’s devotional comes from Graham Watson, a business and religion student from the Disciples of Christ tradition. Graham loves to listen and think differently. Graham also writes a frogfolio called the Art of Hornedfroggedness under his alter ego Purple Thor. It has been a gift to know him during his time at TCU.
“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NRSV
Reflection: Happy Esther
Last week, many of our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrated Purim. This Jewish holiday commemorates God saving the Jewish population through Queen Esther. The Book of Esther records this history but doesn’t mention God. It’s a weird flex, but not unhelpful. This narrative can draw our attention to the people of faith. We get an outside view of people embodying the hands of God and an inside look at their struggle carry out God’s call on our lives.
In Christian community, it is easy to compare the way you see God working in other people’s lives with your own inner struggle. As Steven Furtick puts it, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Drawing comparisons and insecurity are challenges faced by Christians and non-Christians alike, and it’s not a new problem. Esther, already recognized for her beauty, went through 12 months of beauty treatments before being “ready” to be in the presence of King Xerxes.
I don’t know how Esther felt, but this would make me feel pretty, pretty inadequate. As Christians, we learn to lean on God to handle our inadequacy, but we still doubt God and/or ourselves. Faith is difficult. For an outsider, Lent, Christianity, and trusting God can be daunting. How do we begin to prepare to express God’s glory or operate as God’s hands and feet? I don’t know. When faced with a big task, I too often procrastinate rather than trust in God. Here’s what I do know. I know that sometimes I need to step back, put in some hard work, and have faith. I can also witness that we express God’s glory every year, every day.
With faith and insecurity, it’s okay to struggle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the expectations of God, of others, of the people we love, including ourselves. Esther struggled to meet the expectations of the king/her husband and her adopted father, Mordecai. She struggled to risk her life to save her people.
Jesus struggled too. In the garden of Gethsemane, our Redeemer struggled to follow the will of the Father and die (Mt. 26).
For me, a part of Lent is just showing up for that struggle. This Lent, I’ve learned to swallow the fact that my doubt, my emotions, my choices, my limited ability can all be obstacles to embodying the Gospel. Jesus is the spoon full of sugar that helps this medicine go down.
Our reliance on God is not something we swallow just once. I identify with Esther’s lack of confidence, but the story doesn’t end there. God empowers Esther to rise up and save the Jews.
My prayer is that this Lenten season, we too recognize God’s hand in leading all of God’s children to overcome obstacles. We might doubt ourselves and we might doubt God, but God will follow through.