June 4, 2012

Esther 2:8b NIV

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.

We have started the study in the book of Esther and I would love for you to read the book as we go along. It is a short book, easy read, and it is the only book in the Bible which does not mention God. Makes you wonder why then the story is so important doesn’t it? Well, there are many lessons we can learn from this book and the one I am going to discuss is the most obvious to me at this time. God’s perfect timing.

All of you know that my husband Gary has an anoxic brain injury. This past month it became imperative that I place Gary in residential care. I had a very difficult time making that decision and still to this day wonder what God’s purpose is and if I will be alive to see it. I am just obeying and trusting God these days. So it is stories like Esther’s that intrigue me and for obvious reason. Here is a story of a woman whose life wasn’t always pleasant and yet God used Esther in such an amazing way.

Esther’s Hebrew name is Hadassah. She was brought up by her cousin Mordecai because her own parents had died. Think about that for a bit. Here we have a young Hebrew girl. Her parents are dead and the closest relative to raise her is a cousin. This is the child of an aunt and uncle. He has to be older than her in order to take this task on but we don’t know by how many years. We just know that Mordecai took upon himself this responsibility.

I lost my mom in 2007. Most of you received my devotional back then and so you know how difficult it was for me to lose her. I have also been with some of you as you have lost your parents, spouses and children. Most of us have experienced difficult times. How many of us were raised by cousins? Probably none of my readers, but we know that Esther was. If Esther was like the rest of us and she was, then losing her parents and being raised by a cousin was not her ideal family situation. It really doesn’t matter how wonderful Mordecai is to her, he is not her parents and that loss of them would weigh heavy on her heart. Now, because she is pretty and a virgin, she is being taken from her cousin’s home so that she can become a part of the king’s harem.

This is the same king who threw himself a heck of a party and summoned the last queen to appear before him and his multitude of guests wearing nothing but her crown. This is a king who has a harem. A harem is a group of women who are there for the king’s sexual use. She can be his one night and then never be summoned by him again, but then never be free to marry another man or even go home. This would not be a happy life or a life that any girl would want but would do all she could to avoid it. Only Esther can’t avoid it, she is taken and brought to the harem because the king is beginning to miss having a queen and wants to hunt for a worthy queen, and this is his way of doing it.

Let’s sit on this for a bit. Imagine being a young pretty girl who has kept herself for marriage. Your parents are taken from you and you have no other relative but a cousin to live with. You adjust as best as you can to that, when all of a sudden you are snatched from his home to be added to a king’s harem.
That first night did Esther lay there and cry out to God, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Did Esther scream, pound her fists, want to throw something and wonder why? Did she spend some time in prayer trying to figure out what great sin she committed and how she can get God to forgive her? Did she sit there stunned with disbelief and try to figure out why God would allow one more worst thing to happen to her?

I am sure Esther did all of the above. She was human and as humans we tend to internalize our problems, wonder where God is and why He is allowing all this turmoil to happen to us. That is natural, just read the book of Psalms. All of us go through a time after a trauma just scrambling and trying to find God in all of it, and wondering why He is allowing all that stuff to happen.

Been there and done that. I understand fully what Esther is going through. Gary died in bed on July 7, 2011 and today I still ask God why. I still cry for our old life and beg God to wake me up from this nightmare. This is natural behavior. When we go through a trauma it takes a long time for us to process what is going on. The professionals all say I have to mourn the loss of the old Gary before I can move on. Easier said than done but I am trying, and I think God is using His stories in the Bible to show me that even when what is happening makes no sense, He is still there.

Is God, the God who isn’t mentioned, there with Esther? Yes He is, and we will find out where the next time.
In His love,
Michele

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