Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Monday, November 17

Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.
—Esther 4:14

Let's imagine, for a moment, that we are overwhelmed. The life we once envisioned is beset with enormous odds against us.  Perhaps the hospital visit saved our lives, but broke our financial back. Perhaps the chronic condition we've wanted to escape continued its progression despite our hopes and prayers. Suppose the “truth” of the matter is that we have more reason to despair than reason to hope.

How then do we restore hope?

Perhaps the first thing is to realize is that we are not the first ones to grapple with such a question. Queen Esther faced long odds too. King Ahasuerus had conspired to kill all Jews, and she was a Jew.  When asked to intervene, she realized that telling the truth would jeopardize her life; besides she had no audience scheduled with the king for 30 days. Nothing seemed to break her way.

And so, what did she do?

She did not let the despair of isolation claim the day. Instead, she sent word that all the Jews should begin a three-day fast and hold her in prayer. Although both she and the Jews were at risk, they were no longer alone. 

There is power in connection. It does indeed point the way to life.  When the question, “What am I going to do?” gives way to “What are we going to do?” the landscape changes. Suddenly the facts that point to despair are replaced by words of encouragement, and we realize that necessity actually is the mother of invention.

Instead of ruing the situation, we begin to think, “Who knows?  Perhaps we too have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” The odds against us are still the same; risk is still the same; but through the gift of connection, hope and the capacity to act, has reappeared.

God of life, when we are consumed by despair, we ask that you will remind us that we are not alone and that the hope that has ebbed will once again begin to flow. Amen.