SUFFERING. TIMELY OR UNTIMELY?
Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews–young and old, women and little children–on a single day, and to plunder their goods. Esther 3:13
Haman’s attempt to turn the King against the Jews was successful. Xerxes issued a decree that would bring about the destruction of every living Jew. Terror was felt throughout the kingdom and the sound of wailing could be heard throughout the land. It was a foreshadowing of the many future times when similar orders would be given. The terror of the Jewish people under Adolf Hitler was no less traumatic that what the Jews in Esther’s time felt.
But here’s the thing with suffering. There is a time for us to suffer patiently but there is also a time to fight against evil, knowing that the plan for our demise is not of God and must be battled in heavenly places. Discerning the difference is the key, isn’t it? God tells me that I will suffer. I’m called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. But knowing whether or not it is my time to do so is critical. If it is, God allows me to participate in the story of redemption of this fallen world. I am given an opportunity to showcase His glory, just as Jesus did as He faced the cross. However, some trials are not mine to embrace. Often, God told Jesus and his followers to flee in order to avoid untimely plots and satanic plans enacted to thwart the purposes of God. There were times Jesus withstood the attacks and held His tongue. There were other times that He slipped through the crowd and disappeared until things calmed down.
Satan is at work every day. He will orchestrate destruction of every kind against me. I must live so close to Jesus that I am able to discern whether this is my time to suffer or to fight on my knees. When sickness arrives at my front door, for instance, I automatically engage in warfare. More than half the time, I discover that it was an arrow of the enemy, sent to destroy the work God has called me to do. After praying, I heal quickly and avoid the full version of the illness. Other times, God does not deliver me and I understand that my infirmities are meant for a higher purpose; sovereignly allowed by God for my good.
The Jewish people in Susa and beyond went to prayer, calling out for deliverance and falling on their knees in repentance. They battled in the spiritual realm for their lives and God’s power was unleashed. Their lives would be spared and evil would be exposed. When trouble comes, I will pray about whether or not I should go into battle mode in prayer. Or, I will know that this is one of the times it is necessary for me to suffer a trial so that others may see Christ in me.
Show me the difference as I listen for Your voice. I can not begin to figure this out on my own. You couldn’t either and listened to Your Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.