My children and I are currently going through the Book of Esther, using an in-depth inductive method. The Book of Esther is very special to me, because of the role it played in my investigation of Mormonism. It actually had nothing to do with me understanding LDS theology. Instead, it was special because is was a balm to my soul while I was feeling such torment, confusion, and loneliness. I drew strength from that young woman’s courage. I loved Esther’s heart, and her willingness to sacrifice herself for the Lord’s purposes.
Now I’m getting to go through it again, but without the confusion my life held the last time. We’ll spend a week on the first two chapters. I’d say I’m about midway through that, and already I’m being reminded of why the book held such devotion in my heart those few years ago. Her loving submission to her Heavenly Father brings me comfort, strength, and courage.
There is a point, later in the book, when Mordecai says to Esther, “…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:15
Her people were about to be destroyed, and her Uncle Mordecai, who raised her, was asking her to risk her life and appeal to the king. She related her fear, and the above passage was part of his response.
Here is what my heart is saying now:
I once had a blessing that said, “You were held in reserve to come forth in the last dispensation…” I imagine many of you have had similar blessings given to you. We have been chosen “for such a time as this”. It is important we are well prepared. How much more prepared we will be if we dig into our Scriptures? Not with a heart that just wants to know more, but with a heart that wants to know HIM and what He wants us to do.
I had one of the young single adults over for dinner last night. We spent some time talking about our faith and how to keep a testimony. I told her, the one thing that holds me fast, is not the fruit, good or bad, of those around me. I won’t be swayed by the disgusting or beautiful acts of others. Instead, it is the deepness and closeness I feel with my Heavenly Father and my dear, dear Savior, Jesus Christ that draws me and keeps me right where I am.
Though I was faithful and devoted in my former church, and got to participate in many wonderful ministries, it doesn’t compare to the real relationship I feel with my Father now. I cherish knowing Him, and being in constant communication with Him.
That being said, we are not here to merely lap in the luxury of the restored gospel. He has called us here at this time for a special purpose. Ask Him what it is. Pour yourself into your Scriptures to know Him better. But, do it with a heart willing to honor anything He asks, even if it is difficult. There are times I have done that beautifully, with grace. There are other times that, like a stubborn child hanging on to a favorite toy, I have said, “No, You can’t have this.” I’m always happier when submissive to the will of my Father, even when what He asks is painful and difficult.
There is beauty, peacefulness, and confidence in knowing you’re doing exactly His will. As I read Esther 2 this morning, I fell in love with her gentle and quiet spirit all over again. I asked myself, knowing the rest of the book, if I will have the courage to do everything my Heavenly Father is asking of me. I think I can do nothing else, for nothing else will bring me the joy of communion with Him. I love my Heavenly Father, and want to make Him as proud of me as He must have been with Esther.
Are we all willing to submit to everything His word and will asks, with the grace of Esther? Even if it is uncomfortable, or goes against new societal norms? When we read our Scriptures, do we respond like Nephi “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded…” I want to. He has a grand purpose we may not see until eternity. We were called to this portion of the plan. Let’s do it with the grace of Esther.