Now when Mordecai learned all that was done, [he] rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes and went out into the midst of the city and cried with a loud and bitter cry. He came and stood before the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
The Book of Esther, chapter 4:1-3
Mordecai was utterly distraught. The word, distraught, means ‘overly agitated, worried, full of grief, worked up, deeply upset, in a panic.’ In Latin, it literally means to be pulled apart. Have you ever felt like this? I am thinking you are nodding your head…for sure I have, too. There are many reactions and responses to this gut-wrenching emotion of being distraught. Perhaps you might feel as Mordecai did and react by crying out loudly. Or, rather, you might feel ‘frozen’ and not sure what to do. Maybe you might feel like you had been punched and just fall to your knees in despondency. These emotions—being distraught, despondent, unsure—are feelings that the enemy of our souls would want you to experience and succumb to in defeat.
However, there is One Who knows we will feel like this at times and wants us to seek Him for relief and help and deliverance. Our heavenly Father is the One Who has put ‘feelings’ into our makeup. Remember He formed and made us; He knows every part of our being…our feelings and our thoughts, too.
O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off.
You sift and search out my path and my lying down; You are acquainted with all my ways.
Almighty God wants us to come to Him at any time, with all of our feelings; yes, even when we are distraught, despondent, unsure. He already knows we are feeling this way…He just wants us to seek Him!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
The same feelings that Satan attempts to use to pull us down and defeat us, God can use to draw us to Himself. Listen to the words of the psalmist when he was distraught, despondent, unsure. Just like Mordecai, he cried out to God.
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.
Psalms 55:16 and 17
With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.
Psalms 142:1 and 2
You know those times when you fall to your knees…so unsure of what to do. God simply desires a heart of humility as You come before Him.
There is record after record after record in the Scriptures of people who loved God, and did wonderful things as they served Him…and yet, at times, were at their wits’ end. This account in the Book of Esther is an incredible example of harrowing times—so alarming and scary! But as we have witnessed over the past three weeks in our study, Esther’s story is one that shows the providential hand of the loving Almighty God. As we continue our study of the Book of Esther, and Mrs. Schacht’s Esther: the Beauty of Courageous Submission, we will see how Esther also recognized her need for God’s protection, His care, His supply of her needs.
May I encourage each of you to never, ever hold back your desire to cry out to your heavenly Father. He is always listening. He has promised. His promises are ours to stand firmly on knowing Who has spoken them, and Who will bring them to pass.
In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He answered me.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
when He hears it, He will answer you.
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Thank You, Father, for Your many promises that You will hear our cry…and that You will answer. You are a Faithful God…who never lies. We are such blessed women that we can put our absolute trust and total confidence in You! You are so good to us! We praise and thank You in Jesus’ name.