I’m intrigued by Esther. An orphan raised by her uncle, taken to the palace to be groomed for the king. She was a wise lady despite her young years and she listened to the king’s servants instructions. She found favor with all those she encountered. The king was smitten with her and crowned her queen. Its the bible’s own Cinderella story. Orphan girl becomes queen and enjoys all the benefits of royalty.
All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-12774F" data-link="(F)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> the king has but one law:<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-12774G" data-link="(G)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-12774H" data-link="(H)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.
Approaching the king in the inner court, even if you are the queen, could mean death. At this point if I had been Esther, I would have begun shaking in my shoes. It’s a fear I’ve had since I can remember… approaching those in authority. I never, no never, want to be “in trouble”. There’s this invisible driving force in me to please others. As a college student I remember listening to friends who would tell tales of meeting with professors to argue their grades. Not me, I took what was given, even if it was unfair, because there was no way I was going to talk to the one in charge.
Even now important meetings or tough discussions with the hubby can send me into panic mode. In my mind I list all of the things I’ve messed up… the reasons why I don’t deserve a good ending in the situation. So over the years I’ve developed an incredible skill… avoidance. I mean if you don’t ever do anything that gets you called to the “principal’s office” then you never have to face the fear. When I hear others say, “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” I want to scream—No It’s Not! If I had been Esther I would have never made it to the door of the inner court.
I’ve honed my avoidance skill to a fine art. The trouble is it no only applies to the earthly relationships I have, it leaks over into the relationship I have with God too. Its the reason the whole Matthew 7 scripture usually leaves me in tears. These people were prophesying and healing. Miracles were happening in the name of Jesus… and He never knew them. Is it possible this could be me? What makes me different? Where did they go wrong? If what they did wasn’t enough, well I probably won’t be enough either.
I believe some get to this point of thinking (because I’m hoping I’m not alone in this) and just let the following Jesus thing go. What’s the point if you’ll never be enough to get to heaven anyway? Might as well live it up here on earth. And I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t times I lived this way early on in life.
It sounds crazy I know. Those I’ve shared the issue with over the years have reminded me often of the promises God has for his children. How when we’re following Him… believing in Him we have an automatic entrance into His inner court. I’ve even been challenged about my faith and salvation because if you’re saved you know it… you shouldn’t be afraid.
I love Esther’s response in this situation. She tells everyone to fast and pray with her. And then she says, “If I perish, I perish”. In that moment she throws caution to the wind and chooses courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s taking the next step in spite of it. Living enough is not waiting for some magical place or time when fear doesn’t exist. It is choosing to take the next step when your flesh is crying out for you to run. For me it’s not about facing fear but more about moving through the fear to the other side. Esther entered the king’s inner court that day and found grace. He extended his scepter and spared her life. She took the steps to move through fear and those very steps saved the lives of an entire generation.
I’m finding myself more like her these days. Throwing caution to the wind and saying, “If I perish, I perish”. When I step through the fear, I find myself in the inner court smack dab in the middle of His presence. He extends His nailed scarred hand out to me, and grace overwhelms me. Grace reminds me who I am… whose I am. And I hear quiet words washing over me… you are loved, you are saved. You. Are. Enough.