Monday, June 15, 2009

Yep... still waiting...

I spent a good part of this weekend on my Mother-in-Law’s back porch reading. I love their porch and back yard; it reminds me of my parent’s back yard. The yard is big and green; the porch has comfortable chairs and the warmth of the sun and overall, it just feels like home. As I was reading in the book of Esther, the Lord pressed upon my heart, once again, to wait. I was really getting into the story of Esther. I am currently reading Charles Swindoll’s book on Esther, while reading the Word a long side. It is my favorite way to study the Word.

As I open the Word and Swindoll’s book, I am given a little background. You see, Mordecai, was a Hebrew, and was the gatekeeper at the palace of a great Babylonian king. Esther’s parents pass away and Mordecai raises her as his own daughter, devoutly praying that God care for her. Years pass, and Esther has grown into a kind and beautiful young woman. King Xerxes has ascended to the Babylonian throne, with Haman as his principal adviser. Xerxes has banished his wife, and sends for all of the young women in the kingdom so that he may choose a new wife. At first Mordecai is reluctant to send Esther to Xerxes. But God has chosen Esther for great things, and Mordecai prepares Esther for her meeting with the King. He warns her never to reveal that she is a Jew. Xerxes finds Esther beautiful, and makes her his queen. Haman, the king’s second in charge gets a little power hunger and declares that everyone in the kingdom must bow down before him. Mordecai refuses, declaring that as a Jew he will bow to no one except his God. This enrages Haman, who vows to destroy all the Jews. Haman goes to Xerxes and falsely claims there is a plot among the Jews to overthrow the kingdom. Mordecai overhears Xerxes give Haman permission to hang all the Jews. Mordecai asks Esther to intervene with Xerxes on the behalf of the Jews. So here we are in Chapter 4. Esther is told that Mordecai has been in mourning, he has dressed himself in sackcloth and ashes, (typical mourning attire for the times) and has been expressing his feelings at the gate of the kingdom. Conversation occurs between Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs assigned to attend Esther and Mordecai. After much conversation, Mordecai says to Esther, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Her response to the man who raised her, "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

For three days, she waited. She prayed. She fasted. She looked to Him. She thought carefully about the situation she was informed of. She spoke with the Lord about it, she did not seek council from her girlfriends or co-workers, if a Queen has co-workers. But, she looked to Him.

It was then that He directed our conversation to the following passages…

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.
Isaiah 40:30-31 (The Message)

Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:30-31 (New American Standard Bible)

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31 (New International Version)

You see, I have been in a period of waiting for a while, much longer than 3 days. I know the Lord is doing a work within my household, I know He has something fabulous planned for my husband and I, something that will bring Him great glory. But, we are in the period of refinement and waiting. Sweet Jesus told me this weekend, that I can be sure of a few things while I wait.

#1. Waiting often produces great strength.
#2. Waiting often produces energy.
#3. Waiting often produces endurance.
#4. Waiting does not mean doing nothing.

Esther waited, prayed, fasted and sought the Lord for three days, yet, she also prepared a feast for Hamen and the King. I doubt she cooked the food herself, but she had a say in the meal and preparations. I firmly believe her 3 days were not spent alone, in a room, facing a wall. Sweet Jesus pressed upon my heart that when I wait upon the Lord, I do not have to sit in the corner doing nothing. I can pray, fast and wait, while going on about my daily business. However, it is imperative that I stay focused on Him, His Word and His thoughts.

Sweet Jesus left me with this simple reminder:

I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

It was a great weekend. Praise you Sweet Jesus for such a great weekend!

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