Will Suffering Lead to Bitterness or Sweetness?

By Dana N.

As we celebrate Purim, we remember God’s deliverance through yet another attempt to destroy the Jewish people. We recall the heroism and bravery of young Esther and the faithfulness of her uncle Mordecai, who incurred the wrath of Haman after refusing to bow down to him. But I wonder how the story would have ended if Esther or Mordecai had responded differently to their situations?

I think of Esther, who was young and beautiful. When she learned that she was to be taken into the king’s harem, would she have been delighted? Or would she have mourned the loss of a young woman’s hope for love and a family of her own? You see, if Esther had not become queen, she would have remained in the king’s harem, only to be summoned on the occasion of his request. Any expectations of a family and other dreams – not to mention her purity – would have been lost.

What if she had become embittered during her year of preparation before she was presented to the king, or if she had rather chosen martyrdom as would have been expected according to Jewish tradition? Would she consequently have had the opportunity to act in faith, risking her life to save her people?

Let’s also consider Mordecai, whose act of faithfulness resulted in an edict calling for the destruction of his people. What would have happened had he fled in fear or become angry with God? Would he then have given Esther the words of comfort and encouragement she needed to move forward in faith?

The beautiful part of the story of Esther is that God had placed both Esther and Mordecai in the right place at the right time. Instead of responding with bitterness or fear to their challenging circumstances, they trusted that God had a plan – and what a wonderful plan He had! Not only would Esther become queen and have the opportunity to save her people, but also Haman, the man responsible for all of Mordecai’s trouble, would receive the very punishment he had planned for Mordecai.

When we encounter life’s disappointments and hardships, we tend to respond directly to our circumstances. But when we trust in the good character of God revealed in His Word and remember His faithfulness to His people, we can expect God to deliver us as well. This deliverance may not take the form of obtaining revenge on our enemies or becoming queen, but we can rest assured that God’s will is being fulfilled in our lives for our good and for the good of others.

So, next time you think to yourself, “God, you’ve got to be kidding!” – remember that His purposes are not always clear during adverse circumstances, but He has a plan. You can trust Him to deliver you.

Observe how Mordecai warns Esther: “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…” (Esther 4:14a) When we allow our circumstances to turn faith into anxiety or resentment, we just might disqualify ourselves from a role that God has designed specifically for us. His purpose will be fulfilled whether we are on board or not.

When we look back on how God’s plan unfolded in the book of Esther, we can delight in the happy ending for the Jewish people. But we can also rejoice and rest assured that God also has a plan for our lives – no matter what our circumstances.

 

Dana and her husband, Scott, are planting a new Messianic congregation in Los Angeles.