For Such a Time As This: Esther in Ephesians

The Jewish celebration of Purim starts at sundown this evening. Purim marks the story told in the book of Esther when the Jewish people were saved from the intentions of an evil royal advisor named Haman. He was hung on the gallows he prepared for someone else.
This morning this passage from the Psalms came up in my reading for the day. In it the psalmist David, who has been harassed endlessly by those who were out to kill him. King Saul was motivated, as was Haman, by jealousy.

“‘We have devised the perfect plan!’
Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning.
But God himself will shoot them with his arrows,
suddenly striking them down.
Their own tongues will ruin them,
and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
Then everyone will be afraid;
they will proclaim the mighty acts of God
and realize all the amazing things he does.
The godly will rejoice in the LORD
and find shelter in him.
And those who do what is right
will praise him.”
(Psalm 64:4-10 NIV)

This was written generations before the time of Esther and thousands of years before our own time. I do believe that God, in his goodness, sometimes says, “Time’s up!” and moves to protect the innocent. Are we in such a time?
Esther’s story has become important to me since receiving a dramatic dream. I wrote about it here. I think it’s time for a re-blog.

Charis: Subject to Change

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Yesterday I heard a friend talk about Esther. He reminded us of the preparation she went through to bring her to a unique position of influence. I’ve been fascinated by the life of the orphan queen ever since I had a dream involving Esther.

The story is told in the Bible of a young parent-less Jewish woman, adopted by her cousin, who rose from obscurity to the position of queen in the land where her people lived in exile. She dared to defy protocol and approached the king in the throne room without first having been summoned by him. As her cousin, Mordecai, reasoned, it looked like God arranged for her to be there to help her people in a time of crisis. It’s great story, the kind that is made into Hollywood movies. But, if you take time to read it, you will notice that the story is not…

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It’s Time

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The older I get the faster it seems the seasons change. Perhaps this is what is meant by acceleration. Time doesn’t slow down as you age. It speeds up.

Didn’t I just put those Christmas decorations in storage?
What do you mean the stove is ten years old? That’s our new stove.
My baby granddaughter has a learner’s driving license? How did that happen?

So many hours have slipped by in the dailiness of life. For years on end tedious routines filled in the moments that gave us freedom to make changes. I thought I would never finish school and be out on my own.

Then I was responsible for paying my own bills and making my own decisions.

I thought the diaper-changing, toddler-chasing years were my whole world.

And then they weren’t.

I thought I would never see the end of practically living in the car, driving the kids to school and games and music lessons and church functions.

And then they got in their own cars and drove away.

I thought I would never hear the end of students singing scales as they stood beside my piano.

Now my studio piano is silent as my computer keyboard clacks away.

I thought our parents would always be around to talk to, even if they needed more help.

Now there is only one left and communication is difficult.

It’s snowing today, and even though it feels as though it has arrived too soon it is late November. It’s time for the valley to turn white. The season changes once again. At a time of life when one expects to feel more settled changes seem to happen more rapidly than ever. It’s strange, this sense of time thing.

While it seems the only consistent thing in life is change, yet I am more aware that the most consistent thing in life is the love of God, which never changes.

The words of a song came to mind this morning.

In every season, in every change
You are near
In every sorrow,
You are my strength
You are near

A peace in the storm
Your voice I will follow
In weakness I rise
Remembering You hold my world

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways
The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change
I love You, I love You

(From Anchor by Kari Jobe, Brian Johnson and Cody Carnes)

Anyway, the snow reminds me that it’s time to quit procrastinating. It’s a new season. I have a new assignment. I mourn the loss of colour and the ease of walking in the forest, but winter is a time when writers and artists are less distracted and can get down to work.

It’s time.

Save

Leaving Egypt

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I want to stand
Moses-like
on the edge of the hour
and, raising my rod,
part                          time.

I want to see
tired thoughts,
burdened eyes,
heavy limbs,
tumble over themselves
and heart beats surf on holy swells.

I want to see
the impending rend
between keen moments,
morning roll back on mother-warmth,
evening break on fading breath.

I want to stand
Moses-like
on the edge of the hour,
and then

when I’m ready

when I’ve passed through

turn and watch Pharoah drown.

Eternity in Our Hearts

I enter the holy of holies

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
(Ecc. 3:11 NLT)

 

Dad was holding Mom’s hand when she died. He looked up from his book and saw an expression of joyful excitement on her face like she had just seen someone important come into the room. He looked in the direction of her gaze, but no one was there. Then he realized she was gone.

A few hundred kilometers away, at the same time, her daughter had been crying out to God, asking him to heal her mother and relieve her of her suffering.

He did.

An hour away

Photo: looking north

(Click on photo for larger version)

The far mountains in this photo are about an hour away.

We tend to measure distance in terms of time in this vast country. It will take an hour to drive to the village at the base of those farthest mountains. In one hour the time will be here and the place will be now –and the details will be much clearer.

We live in the present but have an awareness of the future lying just one step further ahead on this journey. God is present-future. When he forgives our past, it is forgiven.  He sees who we will become as clearly as if it were today. He knows the plans he has for us and calls us by our future name. He desires us to see ourselves from his viewpoint so we will have the courage to walk in our new identity.

He remembers the future. He shows it to us by his words and allows us to say, “This is a picture of me when I was older.”

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2)

So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.