Scripture Reading: Esther 8:1-17, Romans 8:10-11, Colossians 3:1-4
Sometimes I am absolutely paralyzed by indecision. Does this happen to you? My to-do list gets too long, and instead of just chipping away at it one item at a time, my stomach starts to hurt, my neck gets tight, and I just go back to bed. The rational thing to do is to simply move forward, pay the bills, write the essay I’m avoiding, and buck up. But I find that sometimes I just can’t muscle through. I find that my nose is raw from so much keeping to the grindstone. I can’t move forward for good or for ill. I am paralyzed.
We can get frozen in place when there’s too much to do, or even when there’s nothing to be done. In either case, panic and flight are the natural human responses to unfavorable circumstances. Both solve nothing, and both betray a lack of faith that God is in control. We find ourselves in that terrifying state of freezing indecision, yet He really only desires one thing: that we turn to Him in trust.
Trust doesn’t mean we have to remain inactive. Often, trust means we must act. In those situations, God calls us to simply do the next right thing, and for the rest, cast our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). Do you have a ten-year plan? Good on you. Do you have no plans at all? That’s okay, too; start with the next right thing.
Esther didn’t have a ten-year plan. Her future plans risked her neck, so she had every reason to be paralyzed by fear and indecision. But instead she cries out in agony, “How could I bear to see the disaster that would come on my people?” (Esther 8:6). Even though her enemy Haman had been dealt with, his evil plotting left behind a huge disaster and danger. Lives were at stake. How could her people be saved from destruction? In Esther’s case, King Ahasuerus turned matters over to Esther and Mordecai.
Throughout Esther’s story, we have seen that so much has rested on favor. The favor the king showed Vashti, the favor he showed Esther, the favor the king showed Haman, the favor he showed Mordecai, then the favor he showed the Jews. This favor, of course, is often reversed. The king’s favoring of Vashti ended. Esther favored Haman by inviting him to the feast, but it was to his destruction. Mordecai was ignored, then favored. And finally, the Jews, once despised, were now favored of the king.
All of this favor is out of our control. Amidst flatteries and reversals, however, God’s favor for His people endures. The story of Esther is ultimately the story of God’s favor toward His people. It’s the story of Psalm 30:11-12: “You turned my lament into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to you and not be silent.”
God’s favor is the greatest surety there can be. We are called to trust Him and walk in obedience. We don’t need to give up and confine ourselves to bed, paralyzed by fear and indecision. We can move forward in confidence of God’s promises. If we trust ourselves to His care, we need not fear or be anxious. Though the whole world heave against us, or when everything is shrouded in darkness, He is King.