Thursday, March 26, 2009

And That's the Rest of the Story

Sandra--Can you believe we have worked our way all the way through the book of Esther?! I don't know about you, but sometimes I felt as if I were actually a participant in the story. I'm really glad that I already knew, basically, how the story would end, or this could have been a very stressful study. There were days when I would find at the end of my study that my shoulders had become tight and tense, wondering if Esther would be granted an audience with the king or would she be killed! Or would she finally tell the king what she really wanted? It was like reading a good mystery, wasn't it?

The late Paul Harvey had a long-running radio program that I loved. He would tell an intriguing story and then just sort of leave the listeners hanging, wondering what in the world was going to happen. There would be, of course, a commercial announcement; then Paul Harvey would return with "The Rest of the Story," telling us how the story turned out. Very often, it was the exact opposite of what we expected.

Have you ever felt that way about your own life? That this was NOT the way you had thought (hoped, dreamed, prayed) it would turn out? As a child, how did you envision yourself as an adult--a teacher, a lawyer, a sales rep? I thought for a long time that I would love to be an architect--design houses for families where they would live "happily ever after." Then I found out that that job required a LOT of math, so I lost interest in that quickly. As a child, our younger daughter was very quiet, very low-key. You can imagine my surprise when one day she announced that she wanted to be a person who picked up garbage every week. As we talked our way through it, I discovered that the idea of riding on the back on the big truck really enticed her. Needless to say, as she grew older and realized that that job had some definite disadvantages (sweat, bad odor, all kinds of weather), she decided that something else might be better for her.

It is so comforting to me to know that God knew even before I was conceived what my life would involve. That really amazes me because I can't always plan the next hour with any certainty of how it will really turn out! But He knew when Esther was born that she would have very little time with her parents before she would become the little Jewish orphan who would be adopted by her cousin. She would travel much of her life because the Jews were often on the move, and she would end up in Susa!! And then as a teenager, she was herded in with hundreds of other beautiful, young virgins who would eventually have to sleep with the king of the Persian Empire. Do you think that's how she had pictured her life?! Now, if she had dreamed of growing up to be a princess, she didn't aim quite high enough, did she?

But God knew exactly where He was taking her, what she would have to go through, and how she would respond. In other words, from the very beginning, He knew the "rest of the story" for Esther. And He knows the "rest of the story" for you and for me. That is really comforting because it assures me that no matter where or in whatever situation I may find myself, He already knows the plan. One of my favorite quotations is, "Do not be afraid of tomorrow. God is already there." And life is so much easier when He's in charge!

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