Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"The Sovereign God Controls Even the Pur"

This is one of the "Play Your Hand" questions for Esther Lesson #3.

Haman tossed the purim to determine the best time to slaughter the Jews in Persia. Perhaps he thought the timing was best left to chance. He played the odds. Or maybe he believed that his pagan gods would direct the pur to land on the most auspicious date for a mass murder.

Have you ever made a decision by "tossing the pur?" When I was a kid, I used to pitch wads of paper at the trash can in my room to determine if I ought to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a burrito for lunch. (As though the mighty God of the Paper Wad had a message for me regarding my destiny at the lunch table.) My brothers and I spent huge amounts of time calling "heads" or "tails" as we flipped nickels into the air. I played "Engine Engine Number 9" and "Eeny Meeny Miney Moe" on the playground to figure out which square I got in the four square game. M.A.S.H. games on the classroom chalkboard would tell who I was going to marry and how many kids I'd have. Cootie catchers and jump rope songs. If you think back over your own life, I'm sure you'll come up with a surprising number of ways in which you innocently played the odds regarding the small matters of life.

As I've gotten older and grown in my Christian walk, I hope I can say that I no longer rely on luck and chance to determine my direction in life. My faith has become, well, faith. I trust in more than a flipped nickel or a rhyming playground song. Or a ballot with a dangling chad. Or a medical test with a small margin of error. Or an insurance policy. Or the new study that says eggs are bad for me. Or the other one that says an egg is the healthiest thing I could ever hope to eat. (So which is it, guys?!)

"Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And we were saved in this hope, for hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees? For if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." Rom. 5:5 and 8:24-25
This is Paul's winding and wordy way of saying that we live our lives by faith in Christ rather than by faith in the "pur". As Christians, we ought to place no stock in what is seen in this world. Our circumstances, the "proofs", the wisdom of men, the lab's test results, the tally at the end of election day... it is all destined to lead us astray and to disappoint. But if we put our hope in the things we will not see until the great hereafter, we are guaranteed not to be disappointed. There are so many things in this life that clamor for our trust and hope. So many things that look trustworthy. Worthy of the investment of our heart and soul.

Haman trusted in the purim he tossed that day. We are trusting in the sovereign God who's hand controls even Haman's purim.

1 comment:

rhon said...

I’ve spent several years making decisions based on things that are presented as trustworthy - man made hypotheses on how to prevent or cure a headache. I’ve read and accumulated data and made major life style changes. Eat, sleep, drink, work, and leisure are all measured, evaluated, calculated and monitored: no yellow cheeses, no processed meats, no caffeine, never stay up late, never sleep in, no refined sugars, no beef, no dairy, exercise daily no matter how you feel, don’t read in bed, don’t sit at the computer too long, use a buckwheat pillow, use a magic foam pillow, get a new bed, cut your hair, get a breast reduction! I’ve seen a neurologist, chiropractor, masseuse, and gynecologist. I wet my finger and check the wind of the physical world to find out what it’s going to say next. My life has become so regimented there’s no joy. No one can live like this – evaluating every morsel of food, every moment awake or asleep. It reminds me of a SPS card I made.

Don’t get me wrong. I have prayed. A lot! And each time I learn about some new remedy I think God may be providing this to cure me. What I am contemplating now is that God does not want to cure me. At this point, though, this is unfathomable. I’d rather cast my purim and see if I can get some better odds.