Welcome to the first in a weekly Lenten series of reflections from some of my favorite writer women. They were asked to choose a passage of Scripture and, well, um, reflect. Join us every Wednesday between now and Easter and get your Lent on. Up first, my darling friend and talented writer, Andi Cumbo.
Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will getout of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance willarrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this. – Esther 4:14
I’ve always liked Esther. Maybe it’s because she’s one of the few women in the Bible. Maybe it’s because her story is one of people overcoming their oppressors. Maybe it’s because my mom led our children’s choir in a musical about Queen Esther that included the line “Esther did the best her . . . generation would allow.”
One of the major reasons I love this story though is because Hamon calls Esther out for her selfishness. He doesn’t let her separate herself from her people who are threatened with genocide; instead, he takes her to task – reminding her that she might not be safe and, thus, forcing her to think of more than her own life in the face of the loss of thousands of lives. I like Hamon.
But I also like Esther because, unlike me, she doesn’t balk and get defensive. She doesn’t try to argue with Hamon about how there must be other ways and how her influence might be used more effectively . . . okay, at least she doesn’t after that one time. Instead, she takes hold of the purpose Hamon points out – “Cuz, did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, God let you get all this power so that you could use it . . . right now.”
As we begin Lent, this 40 days where we think about how Jesus was tested, where we “give up” something as a symbol of that testing, where we ponder just how many Cadbury cream eggs a person can safely eat, I wonder if we should also consider what exactly might we have been put in our places to do. During this 40 days, we consider what Jesus came to do, the way that he sacrificed comfort and safety, a cushy seat in the palace if you will. We prepare ourselves for His ultimate gift and sacrifice.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard for me to compare myself to Jesus – I’m just not always able to grab the Incarnation that easily sometimes – after all Jesus was still God.
But then, I’m reminded of Esther, a woman given the gift of a posh life through no effort of her own, a woman who hesitated and thought first of herself, but a woman who ultimately chose right and saved her people in the process. I get Esther, even when I can’t get Jesus.
If Hamon was our cousin, what might he point out to us at just this moment? What would he say we should be going, given the gift of our position in the world? We have a couple of great models to show us that the answer to these questions is not usually, “Protect yourback and wait for someone else to speak.”
So who will we speak up for this Lent? We have been put into our positions for such a time as this. Will we speak?
Andi Cumbo is a writer, editor, and writing teacher who lives on her small farm, God’s Whisper, in the mountains of Virginia. She blogs (almost) daily at andilit.com, and in December, she released her book, God’s Whisper Manifesto. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s restoring the land on her farm and planning for a massive tomato sauce making party come August.