A Silent Interlude
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Esther 4:12-17
Between chapters four and five of this ancient book of Esther, there's a break in time. It's a space of suspense when we don't know what is happening. Nothing is recorded for us to read. At the end of chapter four, we left Esther just as she had sent word to Mordecai that she was going to enter the king's presence uninvited, which could mean her instant death. Then there is a grand pause, and we pick up the story again in chapter five, three days later, when Esther is preparing to walk into the presence of the king, not knowing what the future holds. She literally breaks the law of the land by voluntarily interrupting the king.
This space represents a silent yet powerful interlude during which Esther draws on the source of her strength. How easy it is for us to forget that source. How easy for us to believe that she was born with a Mother Teresa conscience and a Joan of Arc courage. Yet just as no one is born prejudiced, so no one is born courageous.
Allow me a moment to pause here and ask you a couple of very personal questions. Do you teach your children to stand up for what they believe? Are you teaching your grandchildren how to be people of character, regardless? That's the way they will learn it. Let me probe one question deeper. Are you modeling authentic character? That leaves the message permanently etched in their minds.
You see, Esther didn't come onto this earth with a sensitive conscience and a courageous heart. She learned it from her cousin, Mordecai, who became her mentor and adoptive father. He knew how far he could stretch her with his challenge. And she rose to the challenge and said, "I'll do exactly as you have taught me to do."
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.