Like Button

Friday, February 05, 2016

If I Perish, I Perish

The plot was on (Esther 3-4). A hateful man in the king's employ was out to destroy the Jews. He warned the king that they were a danger and got the king to agree to let him wipe them all out. A servant -- a slave, a captive -- heard what was happening and went to his niece who was a beloved member of the king's harem. He told her of the danger that she and they were in and asked her to beg for a reprieve from the king. "But," she said, "if I go into the king unbidden, he may kill me." "Do you think you're immune from this threat?" he asked her. So she agreed. "If I perish, I perish." (Est 4:16)

What does that take? What does it take to do the right thing at the cost of your life? Not just physical life, which is threat enough, but all of life. What does it take to obey the law -- say, for instance, the speed limit -- at the risk of the ire of drivers all around you cursing you? What does it take to stand on the Word of God even when members of your own church will throw you to the wolves for it? What does it take to stand up and say, "Marriage is the union of a man and a woman" at the cost of social execution, of being labeled a hater and a homophobe? What does it take to pack up and head to some Muslim country that arrests, imprisons, and even executes Christians? What does it take to count it all joy when encountering various trials (James 1:2-4), to consider suffering for Christ as a gift rather than an evil (Phil 1:29), to boast in weakness (2 Cor 12:9), to see pain, suffering, even death as an opportunity rather than an impossible hardship? Where do you have to be in your relationship with Christ to say, "If I perish, I perish"? To say, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21)? What does it take for us to do the right thing at the risk of house and home, job and family, social, economic, and other possible deaths?

I'm not sure we American Christians know experientially the answer to that question. I suspect we might find out. I do believe that we ought to know, given the glut of Scripture that says so (Matt 5:10; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 8:18; John 16:33; 2 Tim 3:12; Luke 14:27; Heb 12:11; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Psa 119:71; Luke 9:23-25; Col 1:24; Phil 3:8-11; Rom 8:35-39; Heb 11:35-40 -- just a few examples). I think, however, that it is being faced with the choice that will teach us the answer.

No comments: