Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are you willing?

There are times when silence is definitely the best "tactic" to utilize - yet there are others when remaining silent will just worsen a situation.  Learning how to use silence in a positive manner is a skill many of us never fully grasp.  In fact, many of us don't like silence.  We avoid it at all cost.  There are also a group of us who like to express our opinion - invited or not.  Either way, what we do with the silence is important - what we do with the spoken word is even more so.


12-14 When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: "Don't think that just because you live in the king's house you're the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this."  (Esther 4:12-14 The Message)


Esther finds herself in such a predicament.  Her cousin, Mordecai, has learned of the king's decree (issued through Haman) to destroy all the Jews in the land.  The day has been set - all are to be killed - none spared.  To date, Esther's family line has not become a topic of discussion in the court of the king.  She is a Jew, yet we doubt Haman is aware of this as the decree is issued.  If he knew the peril in issuing a decree which would affect the king's "special lady", he might have thought twice!


Her dilemma becomes more apparent as she learns of the decree - to remain silent, or speak up about her heritage - either way carries some form of loss to her and her family.  Have you ever been in such a situation?  You could speak up, but if you do, you will be "implicated" in the process?  You could remain silent, but your silence will affect you just as severely - and possibly even others?  Not a great place to find yourself, is it? 


The choice we make in the moment is often what determines the outcome.  Isn't it amazing how one seemingly insignificant decision can make such a huge difference?  Silence is indeed a difficult "weapon" to learn to master.  I call it a "weapon" because it is indeed a weapon in the hands of one skilled in its use.  Silence in the hands of a skilled debater can give the audience just enough time to consider the point being made.  Silence in the hands of a vindictive person can give someone just enough rope to hang themselves!  Either way, it is a weapon of one sort or another.


Esther learned something in her years of growing up under the care of Mordecai - trust.  She learned to trust wise counsel.  She may not have possessed the things of other young women in the community - orphaned at an early age.  Yet, she possessed something many others did not - a caring and compassionate counselor (Mordecai).  Look at where he positions himself each day - at the gate of the court of the king.  He is at the "ready" - just in case she needs him.


In seeking counsel, she learns of her deciding moment - speak up or remain silent.  In trustful faith, she determines to speak what she knows may be the words which define her fate.  She cannot remain silent, but she can prepare for the message!  She takes three days of fasting and prayer - calling on those who are of like faith to do the same.  It is a great thing when we "rally the troops" to storm hell's gates, is it not?


In the preparation of the three days, the king's heart will be prepared.  In the same three days, hers will be faith-filled and revealed as faith-full.  The words of this passage which are spoken over and over again in churches across this world:  Who knows - - perhaps you have been prepared for such a time as this.  I had a pastor once tell me these words in just a slightly different manner.  I have held onto them all these years.  In closing, I will leave them for your consideration:


Are you willing to prepare a lifetime to be used even one day in the hands of God?