By Kurt Mahlburg, Features Editor, Canberra Declaration.
Responding to God in times of desperation.
“Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day.”— Esther 3:13a
“And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.”— Esther 4:3
“Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”— Esther 4:13-14
Our society is becoming post-Christian at an ever-increasing rate. This has many consequences, but one of them is surely our culture’s response in times of desperation. Have you noticed the increase in angry marches, character assassinations, apocalyptic fears about the future, and SHOUTING IN CAPS LOCK on social media? Maybe it’s just me.
One way that we can point a wayward world to a greater hope is by how we, as followers of Jesus, respond in times of desperation.
Two and a half millennia ago, the Jews were facing annihilation. That’s something far worse than what Australia in the 21st century is up against. God’s people had been exiled to Persia—but to make matters worse, now the Persian King Xerxes had signed a decree to wipe out every Jew in the empire.
The response of the Jewish nation ensured that this account made the history books. They humbled themselves—fasting, wailing, and laying in sackcloth and ashes. Their grief and their desperation was real. More importantly, it was directed to the One who could do something about it.
They left us an example that we can follow. In Australia, we’re facing one of the worst droughts in our history. It’s not annihilation, but it’s spelling the end of farms, livelihoods—and for some families, even worse.
Just as the Jews rallied under the leadership of Esther and Mordecai to humble themselves, pray, fast, and seek God, so must we. The Christian population of Australia isn’t what it once was, but we have the ear of the Almighty. We must show leadership.
As we do, God will hear our prayers. And we will set an example to the rest of the nation. As faith dries up, people are running out of options as to how to respond in times of desperation. We can show them how. And in doing so, we might get more than rain—maybe we’ll see revival too.
Who knows if we were raised up for such a time as this?
Father, we need you. Our nation needs you. We humble ourselves before you and cry out in desperation. We know you’re listening, and we know that you care. Please send rain. And with it, please send revival. The land of Australia is crying out for both. We trust you and we recommit ourselves to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Breathe – Michael W Smith www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGFeo08LkcY