Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, grant me my life. And spare my people–this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet. Esther 7: 3-4
Esther is the queen. Of all in the kingdom, there is no one who could enjoy more privilege. A life of ease is within her grasp. She can arrange her life any way she wishes for the most part. She has access to an unlimited array of servants, the best cuisine, the tailored clothing, and plush living quarters. But Esther has not been spoiled. She is in touch with her roots. Jewish history is in her blood. Slavery, suffering, and even death by the sword have defined her ancestry. She does not expect better. Eternity lives in her heart and she has adjusted her expectations of life on earth. Adversity would not take her by surprise. She only pleads for her life.
Just this week, a family member was relating to me how she was going to have to fire an employee. Early on, this person had showed great promise in her ability but when a small amount of favor was shown to her, favor caused her to morph into an entitled woman who blurred authority lines. She flaunted her favor with others and started giving orders. She simply forgot her place.
Esther never forgot her origins and she knew her place, even though queen. She wore humility as a cloak and did not have expectations of comfort, safety, love, and fairness. If God wasn’t going to deliver her and her people, she wouldn’t think of being indignant. She would accept what came and grieve her losses.
Oftentimes, I direct my search for happiness toward this fallen world. The truth is ~ life here will never be perfect. There will be moments here and there that bear the hint of an eternity to come (and I can enjoy them as premature gifts) but as soon as I wrap my arms too tightly around them and feel entitled to perfection, I am in trouble. Life here is characterized by joy and by suffering. When I really internalize that heaven is my home, happiness here can be celebrated and suffering expected. I endeavor to live the rich emotional life Jesus modeled here on earth. He could party – and He could grieve. Neither ends of the spectrum were squelched.
I am a citizen of God’s kingdom. I live with deferred hope. That is enough to enable me to live here now with joy and with sadness. Glorification is on the distant horizon.
Jesus was a King, yet He did not look for an earthly throne. I follow Him and adjust my expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.