God has an awesome plan for each of us. The role of faith is to live by that truth even when life is unfair. Even when we wonder why. We all have potential that goes unused…Never are we let in on Esther’s inner thoughts, but I cannot imagine her goal in life was to be the wife of Xerxes, the King of Persia…. She was thrust into a position that was risky, uncertain, and probably not much fun… in all likelihood, given the times she lived in, she probably imagined herself more as a wife and mother in a traditional Jewish home. But becoming the Queen of Persia was God’s plan for her. We all have potential. When I was a teenager and young adult, almost every time I went to get my haircut, the hair stylist would talk about my thick beautiful hair and tell me I should be a hair model. That’s a silly example. Our lost potential can be serious, though, when we imagine ourselves in different circumstances
God has an awesome plan for each of us. For old time church folks you’d have to stretch way back to remember the old pin people used to wear with the letters, PBPGINFWMY. What’s it stand for? (Please Be Patient, God is not Finished with me Yet!). And it’s true….
Unrealized potential can be discouraging, because we imagine a different plan that what God is shaping our lives to be. Perhaps worse is when life is unfair. God has an awesome plan for each of us, but never forget, Satan is constantly working against God’s plans. There will always be people out to destroy the good work of God. I want grow in my faith, to learn to live with such confidence that I am in God’s will, that I live with assurance and conviction regardless of the circumstances. I love the little story from the life of Francis of Assisi: Once while Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, "What would you do if you suddenly learned that you were to die at sunset today?" He replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." That’s confidence, conviction. To understand that my life is so totally devoted to God that he is in my life at all moments, in all things, all the details.
When life is unfair it can be so hard. In Chapter 3 of Esther, Mordecai is singled out and persecuted by Haman for no other reason than he is Jewish. At the end of chapter 2, Mordecai boldly exposes a plot he overheard to kill the king. For no given reason, at the beginning of chapter 3, it is not Mordecai that is honored, but it is Haman. No reason. That seems to mirror life. No human explanation why one person is promoted, one person leap frogs over another, why others advance in advantages, opportunities, and you remain stuck. It is frustrating when our plans are thwarted and our good deeds go unrewarded. Haman not only is recognized over Mordecai with no explanation, but it get’s worse, Haman sets out to destroy Mordecai. Mordecai will get his chance (as we saw last Sunday), but at this moment, there is no explanation for why the wicked prosper. Perhaps Mordecai asked a similar question found in Jeremiah 12:1: “You are always righteous, O Lord, When I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak to you about your justice: why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?”
We have the advantage is being able to read the entire book of Esther. The custom of the day would have been for Mordecai to be honored immediately for his heroic act of saving the king, but by God delaying the reward for quite some time, Mordecai became a crucial link in saving the people of God. That’s what we can never see in our own life: the details of how God is going to use us in the future. God has an awesome plan for us, we just can’t see the whole scope. Mordecai and Esther are both wonderful examples of living by faith, because they are in a pressure cooker of a situation, they cannot see the end, but they live by their values and principles regardless. They could have taken a much easier road of compromise, but they stuck with their convictions. How hard it is at times to remain a Christian in a secular world, particularly when pressures weigh you down.
Haman is determined to exterminate the Jews. In a fascinating detail, Haman cast lots to determine a date to attack the Jews. He rolled the dice, not to gamble, but to predict the future. Luck, chance is not the way of God. In Psalm 15:5-6, David proclaims, “you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into every lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Haman may have rolled the dice, but it is God that puts the story together. God puts your story together. There is no “chance,” no luck, no horoscopes…it’s God.
Haman merely represents the world, a world that is bent on evil, a world that does not want to honor God. At times, it seems as if the people of God are fragile as we try to live in uncertain times, yet we crave security in this fragile world. God is invisibly working to make life’s disappointments a link in a chain of good things to come. The greater good, the perfect plan will unfold. Even unfairness is used by God. When you are in the middle to high school and you see skunks rewarded, a low character athlete honored, we don’t always get it, but time will sort those injustices out. To walk by faith, to believe that God is in control, is a gift. In the most amazing act of all time, we can only be in awe to think that Satan was behind the human agents that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, yet at the very same time, it was God who was orchestrating those events to bring salvation to all who accept his work of atonement.
(whoops, I lost the ending paragraph of the sermon. Perhaps I'll try to recreate it at a later date, because I've already given away my notes.)