"The Banquet of Esther and Ahasuerus" by Jan Victors, c1640.
Little did I know last week when I was studying the book of Esther how useful this teaching was going to immediately be to me this week!
While on our family holiday at Spring Harvest in Minehead, Somerset the evening bible teaching was all focused on the book of Esther. Now I had read Esther before, but I have to confess if someone had said to me what had Esther done in the Bible, I would not have immediately been able to tell the story. The teaching took place over 5 evenings with a different speaker each night, we were blessed with brilliant speakers! The Bible reading was done in dramatic style by a theatre company who used some very unusual puppets using paper mache masks held with one hand while the other arm belonged to the character. I was absolutely entranced by it. The story went in, I also found that I spent a lot of time during the day reading and mediatating on the story to - it all felt like brand new food made especially to meet by spirits needs. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I did not go to any other teaching seminars - that would have just spoilt such fine food!
I love the whole concept of standing up for what you beleive is right, for trusting those who are close to God and need to use you and your position to carry out His will. I love the humility of Mordecai who gives up his beloved child whom he has raised and allows her to go into this most risky position not knowing for certain that she will be made Queen.
This week my 13 year old neice for whom we are full time Kinship carers told us she wanted to go and live with her dad. She told us he had said in the past that she could, even though he has never said this to any other members of the family. I have known since my sister died 18 months ago that she has harbored this desire to live with him even though she has spent no more than a couple of hours with him in the last 10 years. This is the first time she has said it outloud to us, it might have been precipitated by having just been told off for something quite serious, or by the nasty e-mail we received from here which we made her aware of at the beginning of the Easter holidays (accusing us of trying to cut her off from him amongst other untrue stuff). However, I immediately felt the 'right' thing to do would be to call him immediately and ask him if it was at all likely that he would consider having her. I got the telephone, no answer at home, so tried his mobile, he answered, my neice stayed with me while I told him what she had said and asked him the question. After listening to him garble on about nothing I passed the phone to her to speak to him. He obviously asked her why and her response was 'because you are my dad'. He had nothing else to say to her except to acknowledge to her that he could here she was upset, I asked for the phone back and requested that before we went into it in any more details, we could really do with knowing whether it was feasable at all (knowing full well that it was most likely not). I asked for a response by the end of this week.
As soon as I got off the phone and finished chatting with my neice, the doubts started to creep in - what if he calls our bluff and says 'yes' he wants her to go and live with him! We so did not want this, I know my sister did not want it and my parents most definately did not want it. How though could I try and teach my neice to be open and honest if I was not going to be open and honest to those I love most. In the past we have just commiserated with her that her dad has shown no interest, however this time it felt like it needed to come straight from him.
Well here we are on Friday lunch time, I have not had the requested telephone call, I did however receive an email the day before yesterday from him (I had specifically asked him not to email us) - it outlines 11 reasons why he should not have her, without at any time saying - 'no' it is not feasible. My husband and I decided that we should tell her this information, as you can imagine it caused a lot of tears. We have decided to just sit and wait to see if the phone call happens at all, she did not want to call him after we talked with her. Once again we shall be picking up peices for the next few weeks I imagine.
So it was worth taking the Esther stance, saying what we believed was the right thing not knowing whether the consequences would go the way we hoped at all. Boy trusting God can be hard work sometimes, but I'm determined to keep trusting and keep learning!
Esther 8:4 (NIV version)
Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.