Thursday, 20 June 2013

Let's Do the Math!

Into Thine Hand I Commend My Spirit and If I Perish, I Perish

A line from the famous 13th-century prayer of St Francis of Assisi reads, "For it is in giving that we receive." A prayerful reading of Esther 4 forcefully brings home the point that our own salvation is somehow wrapped up in our genuine efforts to secure the salvation of others - as was the case with Esther, whose destiny was inseparably linked with that of her people.

And where a parallel between Esther and Jesus is drawn, we can see the resolve of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, "not my will, but thine be done," as equivalent to Esther's resolve, "If I perish, I perish." And at just the point when she entered, unbidden, the king's chamber, where she literally places her life in his hand, so at the specific point of His death Jesus declared, "Into Thine hand I commend My spirit."  This chapter does resonate with the theme of God’s Salvation of mankind.
Nothing to Lose: We're Going to Die Anyway!

The epic declaration of Mordecai to Queen Esther, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews," makes a bigger state to humanity, which in the end means that we all will die. Hence, what have we to lose in seeking the intervention of our Heavenly Father, even amidst the need to accept Him by faith (without which it is impossible to please Him), and not by sight (having empirical evidence of His existence).

The difference therefore between the believer and the non-believer is although they both experience pain, suffering, and death, the believer, in all of this, has hope, while the non-believer really does not. I prefer to live and die with hope, than without.

Hope Makes Life More Bearable

Of hope Scripture says, "And hope maketh not ashamed." Rom 5:5. The psychological benefit of hope is that it makes the pain easier to bear. It's like being sick during the night, and you anxiously await the break of daylight - because it somehow comes with the promise of healing. This idea is captured in the Psalms, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," (30:5).

So as we go through hardships and suffer many injustices, the hope of divine intervention and vindication affords us reprieve from the mental anguish of these sufferings, while we are yet alive. Then in our death, I've seen the solace that hope of resurrection has brought to many an anguishing survivor of the deceased. We can therefore conclude that in life hope makes life more bearable, and in death brings solace to the grieving.

Father in Heaven, help us today to do the math, and come to the logical conclusion that the only thing that really makes sense in life is to serve you with sincerity of heart, and lay hold of the hope of eternal life that is promised to all who believe. I declare today Lord that "I believe; help thou mine unbelief." In Jesus' name, amen.

This reading is based on Esther 4.  To read and/or listen to Esther 4 and read other related blogs, click here.