Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If.... Then...

This spring and summer, the girls in our small group are working through Beth Moore's study on Esther. It is awesome. I am learning a ton and being extremely challenged.

Last week's lesson was no exception. It was really challenging. You know... that uncomfortable "I know she's right but wish she wasn't" challenging? Yeah... that kind.

Before this study, I wasn't too familiar with the book of Esther. But I love it. It's like watching a movie unfold on the big screen... there's passion, there's rage, and there's divine intervention. It is actually difficult for me to not read ahead! I want to!

We're at the part in Esther after King Xerxes gave Haman his signet ring, and in turn, Haman issued a decree to kill all the Jews in Susa about 11 months later. Unbeknownst to the King, Esther is Jewish. So, Mordecai, Esther's cousin who raised her after she became an orphan, is one of the King's guards and catches wind of this decree. He sends one of the eunuchs to Esther to tell her this news, asking her to approach King Xerxes' and ask for mercy on the Jews' behalf. Esther retorts that she can't approach the throne unless he calls for her... otherwise he could sentence her to death. Mordecai retorts back that basically she needs to, to not think for a second that because she's the queen that she would escape death... that perhaps she is in a position of power for "such a time as this." So, Esther tells Mordecai and the Jews to fast for three days, and that she will too. She then says that she will then go to the King and, "If I die, I die." (Paraphrase of part of Esther 3 and Esther 4.)

The "If I die, I die" statement is what Beth Moore stopped and really settled on. She started talking about Esther's fear, and the fears we have in our own lives. In the study, she had us complete "if, then" statements regarding our fears. For example, one of mine was:

"If I get pregnant again and we lose another child, then I don't know how I could go through this again."

She then said that statement in her video that gripped me. I knew she was right, but given the circumstances that have unfolded in my life over the past two years, it was really hard to hear:

"God doesn't want us to trust Him that He won't let it [the thing in your if, then statement] happen; He wants us to trust HIM."

Boy did that put some things in perspective... uncomfortably, but it did. It solidified for me the fact that God could let it happen again, just like He could not let it happen again... but at the end of the day, He is still God, He is still sovereign, and He is still good... regardless of how I feel and regardless of my circumstances. It made me realize that I need to have a mind and heart shift in what my hope rests in... that it needs to be in God alone. Sure, I can hope to bring home a healthy baby... but those other hopes need to be in their proper place... secondary... in light of my hope in God.

So, Beth Moore had us rethink our "if, then" statements to be "If _____, then GOD" and to really explore what it means for God to be God if any of those "ifs" were to come true. I know that God would carry us through it again, and I know He would use it for His glory and a greater good than I might be able to see or comprehend.

But I still have much more thinking to do on all of that.

I think it's no coincidence that the cornerstone verse that Spencer and I chose for Isaac's Golf Tournament is this:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit." ~ Romans 15:13

It's not "as you trust that He will not let the 'unthinkable' happen" or "as you trust that He will allow your life to be comfortable and free from pain..." It's "as you trust in Him." Why? So that you may overflow with hope. Hope is found in trusting in God alone... not trusting in what He will act in the way that WE desire.

I am so thankful for the truth of God's word... for the things that are sure, solid, and true. So I would just encourage you... place your trust in the One is unchanging, the One who is true. He is where true hope is found.


Anonymous said...

Stacy, it's reading things like this that make me so excited the start my Masters degree in Theology. AND you can thank sweet Isaac for inspiring me to start asking questions about God and the Bible after a very long hiatus from him.
And trusting Him? I understand, you wouldn't be human if you didn't struggle with this. xxx

Holly said...

This study on Esther sounds really good. I'd like to do it sometime, perhaps in my reading group!

God doesn't cause bad things to happen to us...He allows it. He can take both the good and bad and use it for a greater purpose.

Anonymous said...

I think that you really are amazing. And, I thank you for continuing to share your journey with me.

Thinking of you and spencer.

Elizabeth said...

I LOVE Beth Moore. Sounds like I need to do this study as well. Have a great week!

mommara said...

wow. That really touched me. You are so right. God just wants us to trust him no if, thens or but's about it. Thanks for sharing this. Big hugs

Jess said...

This post couldn't have come at a better time for me, thanks.

Sonya said...

You have an eloquent way with words. I know that God is doing a tremendous work in your heart. I am so sorry for what you have been through.

Lynn said...

Thank you so much, Stacy, for pointing to the only One we can really trust.
With love and prayers,

Ms. Kid Magnet said...

Isn't Beth Moore awesome? She really knows how to bring it Home. So glad that God is using her to speak to you.

I continue to pray for you and your husband as you navigate through this journey. May the peace of God continue to be yours.

Corie said...

I am going through that study...just not there yet! WOW! This is amazing. Right what I needed. I might have to skip to it now! Prayng for you and your "if...then's" they are hard.

They call me the boss said...

I have followed your blog since before Issac was born and have been so touched by his life and your story.
Praying you are able to let go and let God work his beauty yet again in your story.

Ocrakate said...

Hi Stacy ~

My women's Bible study group is slightly ahead of yours in the Esther study, and I thought of you when I saw the video this blog is about (a few weeks ago).

More specifically, I thought about how much your blog and Isaac's story have helped me to deal with my own "if...then", pointing me back toward the truth that Beth so eloquently taught, and that you summarized: no matter what, God is still God, and He is sovereign and good.

I think of Isaac and pray for you and Spencer every time I see someone give a "thumbs up" sign.

Blessings, joy, and His peace to you today and everyday ~


Abbie said...

Thanks for this post, Stacy. I needed to hear that. Thinking of and praying for you today.