“And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter” (Est 2:7).
The story of Esther has always inspired me. Recently I read it again and meditated upon the revelation I found there. Esther comes from a very difficult background. She was an orphan. Her parents died when she was a little girl. She grew up with her uncle Mordecai. They were ‘illegal immigrants’ in Persia. Surely, her life growing up was not easy. Thru God’s divine purpose she becomes the Queen of Persia. King Xerxes, her husband, was the most powerful man in the world at that time. But he was a difficult man. How was this poor, uneducated refugee, orphan girl become so wise, gracious, anointed and spiritually strong? The only explanation is the work of God in her heart. Here you see the power of God’s grace transforming human hearts, lives and circumstances.
My husband and I studied medicine in Romania, the country of my birth. Unfortunately, Romania is known for having many orphans and abandoned children. I still remember the practical tests we did in that particular orphanage in Timisoara. The building was imposing and beautiful from the outside. But inside, in between its walls, there was spiritual darkness, depression, palpable sadness, hopelessness and hardness of hearts. The nurses and the caregivers tried their best but they were not enough to care for all the children there. I remember that the children will cry until they get tired. They told us not to carry them in our arms because we ‘spoil them’. They have learned to keep silent for nobody had time for them. From what I remember as a doctor these are some of the psychological scars of orphans (give attention because some are spiritually orphans):
*They never eat a normal meal. They eat more or less than what is normal. They eat fast so that nobody will take their food. They do not enjoy their food.
*They sleep longer hours than normal. When they wake up in the morning, they just stare at the ceiling. They do not cry to call the adults because they have learned that nobody comes.
*They never say ‘Thank you’. There is no time for that!
*They have problems in making friends. They get easily angry and quarrel. They prefer to stay alone.
*They do not do well in school. They fear failure. Because of that they refuse to do any assignment that they think it is too difficult. They hate to be thought. They do not know that growing and learning means that you make mistakes and learn from them. They hate to ask for help from others. They hate to take risks or to walk into unknown territories. They love to ‘move in circles’, repeating the same thing again and again.
*They are very emotional. They have mixed feelings. Sometimes they are high (talk too much) and other times are low (keep quiet and grudging). Because in the orphanage they do not have personal toys or personal space they don’t know how to make long term plans for their lives. They do not have a vision of how their lives will be in the future. They survive just ‘one day at a time’ in constant fear of ‘what tomorrow may bring’. Because they want to establish their authority, the boys learn early to be aggressive and pushy. The girls learn to seduce the adult males to gain favors.
*They work to please the adults. They do not work well without supervision. They do not have a goal in mind. What they want is that the adult or the adoptive parent will be happy with them. Once they receive their approval, they stop working. They are crazy for gifts, for material things. Because of that, if they do not receive them, they learn how to steal. They are over friendly with strangers trying to make friends. They are always restless and anxious looking for the most expensive gift of all: LOVE.
Esther was an orphan. She was raised by her uncle in a strange pagan land. She could have been psychologically scarred for life unable to be a normal wife, how much more a queen! But the grace of God changed her to be a role model for all women everywhere to the end of time. She was beautiful inside and out. She was wise, humble, discerning, patient, loving and spiritual. She won the favor of the eunuch in charge of the royal protocol. She won the favor of everyone who saw her. Finally, she won the favor of the king who placed Vashti’s gold crown on her head. She was an original woman of God. She knew how to be poor and how to be rich! She knew when to speak and when to keep quiet! She knew how to live in a hut and how to live in a palace. She knew how to submit and how to take charge! At that time, men did not expect much from a woman. She was to be only a sex object, lost in a hated faceless, loveless, orphanage-style harem. But by the grace of God she stood in the power of God’s might! She became a ray of light in a dark world, a messenger of Jehovah among the priests of useless Persian gods. She was not a politician but she saved her people’s lives. The credit goes to her uncle Mordecai, for adopting her and for training her to be a woman of God. But the total glory goes to God, who alone can save a sinner and turn an outcast into a hero!
Dear reader, you who are poor, un-educated, jobless, from a socially low background, without friends and without human helpers, lonely and sick, put your trust in the God of the Bible and you shall discover that there is hope in store for you! God can change your life in a second! He is the God of miracles! Give Him praise now!
(The picture is from the movie: ‘One night with the king’)