Monday, October 14, 2013

For Such A Time As This

First, let me explain that this is, quite simply put, grace. All of this, a derivative of grace bestowed on an undeserving (and apparently simple-minded) fool such as myself.

“Grow where you're planted,” is a quote I've read countless times.
Basically, we can be most effective “here” instead of “there.” God will transplant us if/when He desires to have us there (I would say “need,” but how self-righteous would it be to think that God needs me? Is it beyond Him to create another like me, only exceeding in all ways? Certainly not. Therefore I am, by grace, called according to His purpose, and solely out of grace do I become a tool for Him). But where we are is where we're planted so the obvious thing for us is to grow in the pot we're in. When we're ready for a bigger container, He will transplant, but only in the Good Gardener's perfect timing.
We should never desire to be “there,” because “there” will become our “here” when He wills it (in other words, He will put us there).

Here's where I get a might bit personal. I've shared this thought with few, and only close and trusted friends at that.
I've struggled with why I'm here, free, in America. It's legal for me to worship in my own home, to own a Bible, and even to attend fellowship meetings with other believers two or three times a week, depending on the schedule. I'm blessed.
Why this is a struggle for me is because there are millions, perhaps billions, putting themselves in harm's way for the sake of the Gospel. I believe it's around fifty to fifty-five countries that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is illegal to distribute and/or display, and over ten of which are actively hostile to Christianity.

So why me?

Many ask that question when life is going wrong or they're facing persecution, so I am impelled (inwardly from external source; opposing “compelled,” which means outwardly from internal source) to ask why, on their behalf, I am free to exercise my faith. This has plagued me, kept me awake at night, and turned my stomach to consider. A freedom so basic to me is a crime so treacherous to another. Why do I get water from a faucet, in accommodating quantities that I can shower with, water the dog, water plants, and all with clear and cool water, yet another person is in such desperate need for water that they will drink from a stagnant, murky pool—one I'd scarcely even touch, let alone think to drink from?
And I'm complacent in faith sometimes, all the while enjoying (read: overlooking) blessings that countless in the world will never know.
I'd come to the conclusion that it was grace, and grace alone as to why I'm at this locality and this freedom.

I was wrong. And right.
It is grace. But it's also for a reason I can comprehend.

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, ESV)
For such a time as this,” we're told, Esther was put in place as queen. Not to remain silent in the grace bestowed upon her, but to act. Surely, the salvation for the Jewish people would come from somewhere else and at a different time, but we surrender our crown, our glory, and our hope when we give up the place God has put us in.
“For such a time as this,” then, I am blessed with the freedom to pray, to read, to glorify God in my daily life, to congregate with fellow believers in a building designated for the church to gather in. For such a time as this, we're called not to be silent, but to pray night and day that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers into the field, for the field is quite ready. And who knows? Maybe I'll be one such laborer? All I can say right now is that my duty is to pray that He will send workers, and be open to the idea that I may be one of them in due time.
For such a time as this!

I am not given grace to enjoy this life without regard, but for such a time as this I am given the grace to act in ways that others are restricted.
This phrase given to Esther by her cousin, Mordecai, is relevant not just to the queen of the Jews of the fifth century before Christ, but to each Christian today that is living in luxury while neglecting the grace not of their material blessing but of the calling of Christ.

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