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.