|Posted by Sue Badeau on October 3, 2012 at 3:25 PM|
I have been reading Esther recently, and she has taught me a lot about both prayer and advocacy.
Esther was an orphan. After her parents died, she was adopted and raised by her uncle Mordecai. She was in “kinship care”. As a young woman, Esther was selected by the King to be his new Queen. Reading her story I am pretty sure can she was both reluctant and scared to accept this assignment. She was a young Jewish girl – an orphan at that, being thrust into the role of Queen to a powerful, prideful Persian King who had just ruthlessly cast out the previous Queen for not pleasing him.
Esther knew heartache, suffering, grief, loss and sorrow. She knew the pain of losing both of her parents as a young child. She knew what it felt like not to belong, to be an outsider – to be a stranger and alien in the household of the Persian King.
And yet, God gave her a heart for other people – for her people, people who were suffering and hurting. And because she knew both suffering and also compassion, God gave her something else – he gave her access to the throne!
And so we find her, in chapter 7, having a feast of food and wine with the King when he asks her – “What do you want, Esther? Name it – just tell me – anything you want, I will give you – I will even give you half of my kingdom!”
WOW – what a heady moment that must have been. I wonder – if someone that powerful and wealthy – offered me “anything I wanted” – anything at all – even half of his wealth – what would I ask for? A new furnace for my house? A car that is not held together by duct tape? A fabulous family vacation? Hmmmm, its kind of like that question – “What would you do with the money if you won the lottery?” Esther had the winning lottery ticket within reach- And what did she do?
She did not ask for a single thing for herself. She asked for help for her people – her people who were about to be “destroyed, andannihilated.” For this, she decided she could be bold and courageous enough to approach the throne and make her request known to the King. She stepped up and spoke up. As the orphan. As the stranger. As the alien. As the girl who knew pain and trauma and grief, she set aside her own needs and stepped up and spoke up for her people – the people whose suffering was causing her such distress that she could not keep silent. She broke some rules, she overstepped some protocols to seek her personal audience with the King. She knew she had access and she took whatever steps were necessary to use that access for her suffering people.
When we allow our own pain, our own suffering, our own experiences of being different or the outsider not to harden our hearts, but to soften them to the needs of others, we begin to develop the boldness and courage to approach the throne of Grace on behalf of our people – our suffering people.
Check back next time for “Part II” when I talk about the question “Who are “Our People?”
Categories: Hope for the Journey - Devotional Reflections