Maybe you're ready to fight back. Maybe the conversation thus far this week has inspired you that there is another way to engage culture than simply resigning to it because it seems to have some kind of mandate to destroy the Christian way of life. That's great!
But remember when I said there are two important implications from this story of Mordecai in Esther, this scene where he has to send an official edict to all of the Jews and explain to them that they are allowed to fight back?
My guess is that the second one might be a bit more difficult for many.
The second implication is this: you're allowed to fight back against God.
That sounds a lot worse than it really needs to, but only because I used wording that puts it in the context of the story that we are looking at. And it's something that we've talked about before in this space, but it bears repeating because it is too persistent of a problem in the church.
There's this faith, this doctrine, this Christian understanding - whatever you want to call it - that we ought to be a people who settle for "whatever" God decides to give us. That whatever He does in our lives, we're just supposed to be thankful for and embrace it like it's the best thing since sliced bread. (Or at least, since bread that you don't have to go out every morning and gather from the dew.)
There are persons among us who believe, and who even preach, that once you have prayed about something, whatever happens next is God's will, and you're just supposed to be thankful for that.
The truth is that this kind of thinking introduces more questions than it answers. It raises all kinds of misunderstandings about who God is, about what His heart is really like. And, we should add, it's not biblical.
Think about the man in Mark who is blind. He prays, he begs Jesus to give him his sight back. The whole crowd is watching. Jesus takes the man away from the throngs of onlookers, makes a mud, rubs it on his eyes, and wipes it away. And then, he asks the man, "Can you see?"
The "correct" answer to this question is, "yes." Yes, the man can see. He says as much. I can see! But...
But men look like trees walking around. I can see, but I can't see clearly.
At this point, there is a whole segment of the church that would readily jump in and say, "That's not what Jesus asked. He asked if you can see. And yes, you can see. That's a miracle! Be thankful for it." At least, that's the way that many Christians are living. Yes, we can see, but we can't see clearly, but we aren't willing to say that.
Did you know that you're allowed to say that? Did you know that you're allowed to tell God that the gift He's given you isn't as good as the one you expected? Did you know you're allowed to say that you can see, but you can't see clearly? That men look like trees walking around out there?
You are! You're allowed to say that! You're allowed to go back to God and ask what's up. You're allowed to go back to God and tell Him you don't understand. You're allowed to go back to God and admit that you were expecting something better. You're allowed to go back to God and tell Him that you believe He has something better for you than the first thing that came along since you prayed.
You're allowed to tell God that you know that He is good and that you want the fullness of His goodness.
What happened to that blind man? Jesus continued to have compassion on him and healed his eyes more. He healed them again. Better. More fully. So that the man could see not just trees walking around, but every detail of the faces of his brothers and sisters...starting with the face of Christ, who was right in front of him.
You don't have to settle for less just because you think God gave it to you. That's not a Christian faith. You are allowed to "fight back."