This week we wrapped up our Bible Study. Each person who came to study Esther came for different reasons. God has had each of us on our own path of destiny. Some came with study books completed, armed and ready; some rushed through to get through long chapters week after week and have just got it done; and well, to be honest, some are just behind...but I hope still determined to keep plugging away at the study until they finish, even when we aren't meeting every week to let Beth give us an ear full.
I think it seems quite fitting that our study will end this week during a week when we here America will celebrate Thanksgiving. Surely, that was the purpose that the Jews established the celebration of Purim. Of course, we know about the pilgrims and their sharing a meal with the Indians who taught them to survive in the New World. The official proclamation of the holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November each year came from President Abraham Lincoln and was continued by all presidents for 75 years until Congress made it an official holiday in 1941.
I don't have the source (came from a website without footnotes) but these words about our great President and the sovereignty of God in his life might remind me of the providence of God in the affairs of man:
"Lincoln's original 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettsysburg Address." It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend: When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency] I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ."
It is quite a scene to imagine Abraham Lincoln walking past thousands of graves and God pivoting him toward a life consecrated to Christ. There were many other choices -- bitterness, despair, failure, hopelessness, even anger and fear. But our great President turned to the One who could change the course of events that were destroying the course of destiny of our nation that had begun over 300 years before when men and women braved the unknown and came to settle in the New World for the purpose of religious freedom. On Good Friday,1865, President Lincoln met his Savior face to face. All of His questions are answered, and surely he has found the peace that he never really knew as the leader of this great nation.
Some of my friends in Bible Study are facing battles. These battles may be Gettysburgs, pivotal points that will require huge steps of faith in a directions they never thought we would go. Many of them will take these steps in a direction not of their choosing had God given them a list of preferences concerning the legs on the journey during the course of their lives; but journeys they are on still the same. In a less Gettysburg type way, I am facing my own steps of faith. I pray that the study of Esther has given all of us the courage to trust God when life turns upside down and the tables need turning. I know it has challenged me and caused me to carefully consider the God who is there even when I can't see Him. How blessed I have been to given the opportunity to ask the questions to a special group of women who have chosen to follow hard after God.
Thank you, God, for your unfailing love and goodness this Thanksgiving.