My mother-in-law was gifted at cross stitching. She could take those thin, fragile threads and create artwork suitable for framing. She would often gift me with delicate pillow cases, hand-crafted with a combination of love, patience, and raw talent. The first time I placed them in the washer, I turned them inside out to protect that stunning artwork and the delicate patterns. Whoa, I was taken back by when I saw the underside, the stitching was ugly, random, and knotted. How can one side be so perfectly beautiful while the other side be in apparent disarray? Life mirrors that at times, doesn’t it, especially when we only have that under side in view.
After the events recorded in yesterday’s devotional unravel in the ancient kingdom of Persia, our beautiful Queen Esther had to feel as though she was looking at the ugly side of the cross stitching. What a mess!As we recall, her Jewish people, including her beloved uncle, were facing extermination at the hands of the wicked Haman. But then again, no one knew that SHE was Jewish, so she would be safe. Maybe she should just hush up and protect herself? But Esther does not remain silent, she bravely allows God to use her in any way He sees fit. Esther finds herself pleading with the king to spare her life, and that of her people. Her humility and bravery touch this king’s heart, his love and respect for her deepen, and the tables are abruptly turned on Haman. Through Esther’s display of faith and Jehovah’s majestic stitching together of details, Haman’s vicious plot would be revealed and he would receive the death penalty that he planned for Mordecai. King Ahasuerus would promote Mordecai to a position of power, and the people of God would be preserved.
The story of Esther has many lessons for us, and one obvious one is the providence of God. Our sovereign God orchestrates and arranges the affairs of man, by direct or indirect intervention. Nothing in Esther’s life took God by surprise, for He had prearranged the threads, chosen the colors, designed the pattern. It was not by coincidence that this lowly young Jewess was appointed queen of the most powerful nation on earth. It was “…for such a time as this.” Yet I am at awe at the apparent hiddenness of God throughout this rich tale; His name is not penned in its pages, He works in secret as He directs the course of His children. Esther teaches me that God purposely guides the steps of His children, even when we aren’t aware of it, when things don’t make sense. When He seems hidden somewhere behind the scenes, He is at work carefully weaving those threads into a gorgeous tapestry that will ultimately be glorious and perfect.
But the lesson that I want to keep closest to my heart from the Book of Esther is that there is a delicate balance between the providence of God and the involvement of His children. Every time Mordecai and Esther had the opportunity to do what was deemed honorable and right, they stepped forward in faith without regard to their own personal safety and well-being. They never wavered in their devotion to and faith in their heavenly Father. God opened the doors for them and they responded in obedience. That’s who I want to be. God has a purpose for me, lives for me to impact, a task for me to accomplish for Him. I have my own “…such a time.” I pray that I recognize those opportunities and step out in faith, even when I only see the underside of the needlepoint.
Ephesians 1:11 …being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Holy Spirit, gently nudge me when those pre-appointed opportunities come my way. Don’t let me miss them, or draw back in fear. Give me a sensitive spirit that allows me to be used by my Father to further His kingdom.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-492-656bcae39666a' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=492&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-492-656bcae39666a' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-492-656bcae39666a' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>