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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Esther's Choice

My sister and I were about fifteen the summer we drove to a North Carolina beach with my mom, younger sister, aunt, and cousin. We passed the mornings at the beach, returning about 1:00 to the rented condo for lunch, and cycling back to the beach in the late afternoon.

One late afternoon when we returned we found that the tide had come in and filled in a lower almost gully type area. Thinking that it would be shallow, we started to wade through. It quickly came up to our waists and everyone decided to walk to the far end and cross on the sand. I remember watching a man wind surf in this gully. (Will some beach savvy person tell me what the correct term for something so deep is? Tide pool doesn't seem to cut it!)

After a couple hours we started to make our way back to the path. One of my sisters and I stopped at the shallow end of this strange gully to rinse the floats one last time. Two very small children scampered by and into the water. My thought was, "Tell them how deep it gets." I dismissed it thinking that their parents would be keeping an eye on them. The thought came more insistent, "Warn them." But it wasn't my responsibility, so I kept quiet.

I dunked the raft one last time and moved to follow my family. And as clear as a bell, I heard, "AMY!!!" from behind me. I turned in confusion because no one I knew was back there. In that instant, I saw the little girl bobbing and gasping and her brother going and staying under. We could barely touch the shifty, sandy bottom but we managed to pull them out.

The little girl was gasping and crying and the boy spewed saltwater onto the sand. He looked so gray I yelled at his distraught sister, "YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR PARENTS!" Away she flew. They scooped him up without a word to us and whisked the children away. A couple days later we would walk by a resort pool and glimpse them all in the shallow end.

It is one of the few times that I believe God audibly called my name.

There were lots of choice points in this story. God made two attempts to impress upon me the need for action. I dismissed those children, that situation, as "not my responsibility." I didn't respond until there was a crisis.

Sadly, my mom and my aunt didn't respond at all. My aunt was trained in first aid and CPR as a routine part of her job. She didn't come to check how things were but stayed on the opposite side of that gully. She simply said later, "He was coughing it up. That was good enough."

It reminds me of the Esther. She was a young Jewish woman who through a series of events hid her identity as a Jewess and became a queen. At one point, a man named Haman -- seeking revenge on Esther's uncle Mordecai -- plots to annihilate the Jewish population. Mordecai learns of the plot and goes to Esther and beseeches her to intervene with the king. The catch is that no one can enter the king's presence without being bidden to do so. If the king is in a bad mood, it could mean death. If he looks kindly upon someone, he might extend the royal scepter and they will be spared.

So, Esther is in a predicament. To intervene would risk her life. She hesitates, but Mordecai is insistent. In Esther 4:12 - 14 (NIV) says, "
"Do not think because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relieve and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
Could Esther argue it wasn't her place? Yes. Could she say that it wasn't her responsibility? Yes. Could she say the risk was too great? Definitely.

Esther does act with much prayer and thought and exhortation. God miraculously turns Haman's plot on it's head. But what would the cost have been if she had chosen not to act? Thousands might have lost their lives.

Yes, the story on the beach is dramatic but true. At times I wonder what might have happened if I continued my belief that "it wasn't my responsibility" so I could not act? The results may have been horrific.

Though they may not be so dramatic, how often do I dismiss "smaller" things in life because I believe they are not my responsibility. No, I cannot do everything. But anything on God's heart warrants a response on my part -- a prayer, a kind word, a gift, an action. I just need to trust Him to prompt me how and when to respond and obey the first time rather than the third.

What small or large "Esther's Choice" is God asking of you? Could it be that you were placed right where you are, working, caring for children, or even in the line at Walmart for such a time as this?

Sometimes I wonder about that now thirty~ish brother and sister pair and what God might be doing in their lives because two teens chose to respond (somewhat belatedly) to a commanding voice in the midst of the sand and the sea.

God's Work In Progress,

This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:

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Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

That was beautifully written Amy, and gives me something to pray about.

Bless you.

September 4, 2008 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Very lovely, thank you.

September 4, 2008 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger Sisters of Faith said...

Yes, it may have been belatedly...but AMY you RESPONDED! HOw many times do we ignore the cry of the sinking...those around us sinking in a pit of sin and they cry out in the only way they know---and we turn our back--with the comment or attitude..."well, that's what the preacher is for"...or "that's why God made missionaries"....
I LOVED your story of heart today. It is VERY early for me...and I have just finished my own bible study time--this was such a blessed reminder of thankfulness that God sent someone to save my sinking soul.

Thank you for sharing this today!
Angie Knight (The Knightly News and Sisters of Faith)

September 4, 2008 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger HiHoOhio said...

I think many times throughout my days..."WWED" not WWJD" What would Ester Do. She is my Bible Idol! Thanks for this story and reminder today.
Catherine in Ohio

September 4, 2008 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Mark and Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

Nicely written! You had me hooked from the first paragraph - what a wonderfully painted picture of true events in your life.

I beleive very strongly that God tries (sometimes desperately!) to get our attention. It's hard to get our attention until/unless we are focused on Him and walking with HIM.

I know God is calling me to a greater ministry right now ministering to other pastor's wives and ministry families. AND I did not acknowledge His voice the first nine-hundred or so times. I'm learning to listen -- it takes much prayertime, much meditation on His Word. Sometimes He speaks THROUGH His Word. Never take this "voice" for granted.


September 4, 2008 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Wow, that is a dramatic story, but you wrote about it so beautifully and whopped the relevant message in at the end. Great post!

September 4, 2008 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Teri Washington said...

Very nicely written, thanks for sharing.

September 4, 2008 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger fly baby in OKC said...

I was having a battle today inside my own heart. There is a person that I have been hurt by (and quite possibly unintentionally, I have hurt them) and I have felt a need to get it resolved. This morning before reading this beautiful piece I called a trusted teacher within the church to ask his guidance and direction. For many, many weeks I have ignored the urge to "fix" this issue, not sure of how, but I now have a starting point. Then reading your wonderful article has shown me that I did the right thing - I am not waiting any longer for it to become someone else's problem. We can work this out to be able to bless each other though mutual forgiveness...I am utterly hopeful and prayerful that it will work! Thank you for the encouragement.

September 4, 2008 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

You bring up a few good points in your writings! I really agree with you about all that you wrote. God bless.....Thanks, Cindi

September 4, 2008 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Candystn30 said...

This got me to thinking the small things in our everyday life is so important and at the same time so overlooked...thanks forba great blog

September 4, 2008 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Oh, Amy that was so good. I could just picture the whole story on the beach. I think we've all been there thinking things are not our responsibility. And God is thinking I put you there on purpose - as it says in Esther "for such a time as this."

September 7, 2008 at 3:21 PM  

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