“ Failure is not sin; faithlessness is. ere is always a time to act courageously. We have this challenge too: Always do what is right and leave the rest to God.”
IN MY MINISTRY AS A PASTOR, it is common to meet persons who are deeply discouraged by the various situations in their life.
How do we touch lives that only see “hopelessness”? We encourage them with prayer and our own testimonies of how God answers prayers. God prepares us for emergencies such as these. e Word of God, in the Book of Esther, reminds us that God plays a part in all events of human life.
Esther, a Jewish orphan, was in the care of her cousin Mordecai. Together with other Jews, they were exiled from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. History tells us that life in exile is as good as meeting death every day. As aliens and despised Jews in a foreign land, their fate was sealed.
What would have been the dreams of this beautiful, young woman Esther in this bleak situation? We are not told of these. But we are taken through the events of how God brings this obscure girl to the position of being Queen to the great King Xerxes. God worked out His plan by choosing Esther and her position as Queen to save the Jews from certain death.
Although God’s name is not mentioned in this book, every situation is full of God, who is behind every word. When Mordecai told Esther that she was the only one who could reveal the evil plans of Haman to the King, she despaired at this task as her life could be in danger. However, she answered the challenge of Mordecai, for the sake of a greater cause.
Failure is not sin; faithlessness is. ere is always a time to act courageously. We have this challenge too: Always do what is right and leave the rest to God.
There are many who have allowed their past disappointments and present situations to dictate their future. Losing all hope for anything good to come out of their lives, they cast themselves into a prison of self-pity, doom and gloom. ey walk around with a dark cloud hanging over their heads. They fail to see God’s presence through their self-made shrouds of worry and despair.
God’s promises are our living hope! God’s hand is in our lives. Though we may not see Him, He is with us. We choose to forget Him but He always remembers us. God heard Esther’s prayers for her people. at was all God wanted her to do and He did the rest.
God delivers us from our self-made prisons when we open our hearts to Him.
“Is anyone among you suﬀering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.” – James 5:13
The Rev James Nagulan is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference.
Putting faith to the test
“ …There will be times when things go sour and tragedy strikes a man … What does he do then? He places his trust in God – convinced that, though he does not understand how, God will bring good out of it.”
THINGS HAPPEN that hurt terribly.
• A youngster breaks a leg, eliminating him from participation in a sports activity in which he was excelling;
• A tragic accident turns life into a nightmare;
• A “perfect” marriage is shattered by the sudden death of a partner;
• A promising career is fractured by a merger which puts a brilliant man out of work.
Such things put faith – even strong faith – to the test.
The Bible says, “ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23). How? We cannot presume to know how God works in every case. But for starters:
1. The good man seeks God’s will in all he does. He does not make decisions without considering God’s will. He consults God’s Word, and prays for direction. en if problems come, he reasons that God may be directing in a way beyond human understanding.
2. He looks for good even in the painful experiences. ere will be times when even the good man fails to properly consider God’s will. Times when he will fail to consult the Word, and pray. Times when he will act impulsively, foolishly.
And even when he has fervently sought to do right there will be times when things go sour and tragedy strikes.
What does he do then? He places his trust in God – convinced that, though he does not understand how, God will bring good out of it.
Maybe there are times when God causes seeming tragedy in order to send us down a diﬀerent road. More often, however, those painful experiences cannot be assigned to the Lord. He does not cause them – but He can use them. Even the terribly tragic experiences He can turn to our advantage. – KneEmail.
Joe Barnett contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.