“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
I came across this scripture last week. Of course, I’ve read it before, but for the first time I grasped the message:
For such a time as this.
What if life isn’t supposed to be about what we want?
What if the “abundant life” Jesus spoke about is available only when we die to ourselves and let God take the reins?
What if true joy is found solely in relinquishing our desires for His desires FOR us?
What if the uncomfortable or even painful place we are in, at this moment, is so the greater will of God can come to fruition?
What if what we are,
where we are,
who we are,
and even why we are the way we are is for such a time as this?
This idea goes directly against what the “world” and “society” tells us. We are supposed to be self-actualized. Striving for success. Clawing for position. Pursuing our wants, our lusts.
Yet. I know this to be true: God Almighty did not create me for comfort, but to grow in character. He didn’t form me for happiness, but holiness. Through the pain and ickiness and loneliness and grief, He is molding me into a vessel to be used for His Glorious Purpose.
And yes. It’s hard. So hard that I often want to give up. Get away from the toughness. Perhaps on a beach in a warmer climate…
But He loves me so much He won’t let me run away. He cares so deeply – He won’t let me get away with doing life halfway either.
I won’t run away. I’ll stand – my face to the wind. In obedience. In trust.
And believe, even when I can’t see it – I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
This hashtag popped up on my twitter feed today.
I’d like to say this is an isolated incident.
I’d like to say that church leadership does the right thing most of the time.
But I can’t.
I have seen too many young women demonized for a less than pure history while young men, church going young men, frequent strip clubs and partake in one night stands with little or no consequence. And a blind eye is turned. “Boys will be boys,” after all. I’ve seen affairs and promiscuity remain unaddressed because no one wants to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Make no mistake, purity is not an option in the Christian life.
But, what REALLY makes me cry? What makes me throw back my head and wail?
When church leadership sweeps these “incidents,” such as the one in the article above, under the rug.
Let’s call it out, shall we? It’s sexual ASSAULT. And when the pastors, elders, and people of leadership hide the truth from their congregations because shining a light on it would soil the reputation of the church or “ruin” the future of the perpetrator?
I die a bit inside.
When protecting the image of a church or person in leadership becomes more important than protecting the victim?
What are we here for anyway? We are supposed to be protecting the downtrodden. Defending the abused.
Instead victims are told they have unforgiving hearts. That the sin is theirs.
I have no more words.
I invite yours.
I’ve been struggling with what to write for this, my first post of 2018.
And then it came to me.
No. Really. I mean it.
I recently finished reading Deuteronomy. Actually reading it. Not glancing at the names and glossing over the Hebrew law stuff. I absorbed its message for the first time in my life.
Near the end of the book God commissions Joshua to go into the Promised Land. At the same time God give Moses a song. Moses knows he’s messed up a fair bit and he’s not going into the land of Canaan. He only gets a glimpse of the land promised to his people from a far off mountain top.
And God gives him a song. A song he is to teach to the people of Israel. A song which they will sing throughout the ages.
It isn’t a happy song.
It’s a song about the inevitable failure of the Israelites. Yep, God knew they were going to mess up. Big time. Again and again. He knew they were a sinful people and that the gods of other lands would lure them away from Himself, the One True God. He knew it and gave a song to Moses to remind them of this when the inevitable awfulness happened.
No Other Gods.
The Israelites would forget, over and over, the first commandment. No other gods. And in their forgetfulness they would suffer losses in war. Slavery. Being carried off into foreign lands. Yes, the wrath of God fell on them. And the protection of God was removed from them as the bible and history records.
I wonder about this.
What “gods” have I bowed down to? What are your idols? Not worship to other religions, no. But what about other “gods?”
Comfort? Entertainment? Marriage? Money? Coffee? Sex? Status? Power? Dreams of another life?
What if those gods are removing the protection of the One True God from your life? Does it work that way?
Even if it doesn’t, idolatry, in all its forms keeps so much good away from us. And in our worship of lesser gods we forget to make space for God to move in our lives.
He is longing for our undivided attention. He has commanded this from the very beginning.
He must be enough. Only ever enough.
Perhaps that can be our desire for 2018. No other gods. Not a simple task, I realize. But a worthy goal.
Blessings to you all in 2018! I pray love and joy and grace be with you throughout this year.