Life Perspective

“Finding Perspective, McCloud Falls” © 2018 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

He entered this world with a mind of his own… just a year and a half after his grandfather died and 15 months after his brother was stillborn.

I adored him from the start.  Perhaps, I loved him more because of my loss.

But love that child, I did.  He’s grown now, but I still clearly remember those early years.

Actually, such love caught me off guard.  You see, I’m not a baby person.

But this one was different.  I thought him the most wonderful being in all creation.

I’m told that most of us feel that way about our off-spring.  Somehow, those initially helpless, bawling beings capture our hearts.  And we’d do practically anything for them…

We’d go without just to feed them.  We’d do without to make their dreams come true.

We sacrifice personal time and financial security to encourage them in their pursuits.  We suffer with them, and sometimes even because of them.

They transform our lives forever.

We love them…well, just because we do.

And our fortunes become inextricably connected because we are family.

That connection for me became clear during my son’s elementary school years; he encountered a bully.  For whatever reason, the bully had taken a dislike to my much-loved and kindly boy.

Almost immediately, my husband and I spoke with the bullying child’s parents, and all agreed that the two boys should not play together in order to avoid further conflict.

It was an awkward conversation and it produced, at the very least, some interesting neighborhood dynamics. But it was all necessary for our son’s safety and well-being.

Those initially helpless, bawling beings capture our hearts.

Yes, what concerned our son impacted us as well.  That’s what it means to be family.

Yet, when you truly love, you don’t resent the sacrifices.

As I recently pondered our love for our son, I thought of Abba’s love for you and me.

Even in those moments when God seems most absent or unapproachable, He lovingly protects His people.

And of course, we find one such example in the book of Esther.

The nation of Israel had again drifted from God; thus, as God predicted, Persia invaded and took the people captive.

Times were tough if you were a Jew.  Nevertheless, a beautiful young Jewess named Esther advanced in fame and fortune.  Opportunity knocked when King Xerxes’ queen died.

Since there was no royal match.com, Xerxes decided to host a beauty pageant. And Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, seized the chance to secure a better future for his niece.

Esther entered the pageant, and her incredible beauty won the King’s favor.

Thus, in this Biblical Cinderella-like story, a young Jewess married the powerful king of the Persian Empire.  And in some sense, like Cinderella, Esther remained a bit of a mystery.   No one at court knew she was a Jew.

Because he wished to encourage Esther’s success and feared her ethnicity might hold her back, Mordecai withheld that information.  And indeed, in light of Esther’s royal marriage, Esther’s future looked spectacular.

But all was not well in Persia.  Jealousy and pride fueled court intrigue.  Two disgruntled officers plotted to assassinate King Xerxes.

Fortunately, Mordecai overheard the men scheming at the gate, and immediately told Esther.  The young queen, in turn, warned her husband.

An investigation ensued, and the traitors were duly hanged. Mordecai had saved the King’s life, and preserved Esther’s prominent position.

Not surprisingly, Mordecai later turned to Esther in his own hour of need.

The problem was simple.  Because of his Jewish faith, Mordecai had refused to bow to a noble named Haman.

Haman was humiliated and enraged.   And having discovered that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman sought revenge and devised a plan to eliminate the Jews.

In desperation, Mordecai turned to Esther. He asked that she intercede on Israel’s behalf.

When you truly love, you don’t resent the sacrifices.

But there was a problem.  Persian law did not allow Esther audience with the king except by invitation.  To enter her husband’s royal chambers uninvited was to risk the his wrath and certain death.

Her only hope was grace.

If the King extended his gold scepter when she entered, she would be safe.  Yet, although she was his queen, Esther likely questioned the extent of Xerxes’ devotion.

To seek out the king was a huge gamble.

Anticipating Esther’s dilemma, Mordecai thus reminded Esther that she was uniquely placed.

He offered perspective: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape…who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

What concerned Mordecai ultimately impacted Esther as well.  The situation tested Esther’s commitment to God and family.   Would she choose the safety of self-protection or would she live for something bigger than herself?

Esther bravely chose faith and family despite potential personal peril.  And God granted her favor.

When she entered the throne room, the king extended unprecedented grace. He certainly loved Esther; perhaps, he loved her all the more because of his previous loss.  Scripture doesn’t say.

I do know, however, that the remainder of the book outlines the course of Xerxes’ love and loyalty, and of the resulting justice.

It probably was extremely awkward when Esther finally confronted Haman in the presence of the king.  Nevertheless, after much courtly intrigue, the bully Haman was punished and Esther’s people were saved.

Despite the fact that God is never mentioned by name in the book of Esther,  I see many spiritual truths in Esther’s history.  In fact,  Israel can certainly find comfort in the book’s stunning account of God’s providential care.

I certainly do.

In addition,  I see a number of spiritual parallels…

Abba is the most powerful of all sovereigns.  Yet, we are His beloved.  Where others might fear to tread, we find grace.  When enemies threaten or  when circumstances overwhelm, you and I have free access to the throne room.

“Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” ~Esther 4:13-14

I also see in Esther another parallel:  Christ, my intercessor or high priest, fully identifies with me. What concerns you and me impacts Him.  Even though, Christ was and is the Father’s “Beloved Son” with whom the Father is pleased, Christ calls imperfect believers His own.  And no sacrifice is too great to secure our safety.

The enemy bullies and seeks to destroy, but Christ entered the Holy of Holies to secure our lives: Christ, in fact, continues to seek favor, grace and forgiveness on our behalf.

When He took human form, He identified fully with us. Our pain became His.  He suffered with us.  In fact, He suffered because of us.  Because He loves, that’s just the way it is.

For this reason, He not only taught us that we can run to the Father freely to find grace in our time of need (Matthew 7:7; Hebrews 4:16), but He also encouraged us to…

live for Him, our God who is greater than all else, (Romans 14:7-8; Revelation 4:11),

and give to one another, our spiritual family (Matthew 7:11).

Or as Philippians 2:4 says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”

After all, in Him, we are family.  And that’s just what family does…

Yeah, what impacts you impacts me.  In Christ, our fortunes are connected.

And so, perhaps, when we face personal crisis or success, we find ourselves in that place to help another…or as Mordecai reminded Esther ‘who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’

It’s all a matter of perspective.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers,” ~Galatians 6:10

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” ~Philippians 1:21

75 Replies to “Life Perspective”

  1. I love the connection you made between Esther and Christ. Like Esther sought out the King even when there was a penalty, and the King loved her regardless of the law. Christ loves us despite our flaws and sins. So powerful!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another awesome painting Lynn, thanks for sharing them with us In your post’s

    “The enemy bullies and seeks to destroy, but Christ entered the Holy of Holies to secure our lives: Christ, in fact, continues to seek favor, grace and forgiveness on our behalf.” and then you said “Yeah, what impacts you impacts me. In Christ, our fortunes are connected. ” I love what you have written here and I also grieve. What comes to mind when I read this post is how much the father of lies bullies the believer, especially the new believer into thinking that they cannot walk away from their past.

    What impacts you, impacts me. More mature Christians really need to make this clear to those who are feeling disconnected because a lot of the time our welcoming encouragement saves them from believing the enemy’s lies. It’s then that they can really experience the truth of Christ’s securing our lives.

    And now you can paint heaps of other people standing with that person in your painting. Lol.

    I’m not sure if any of what I have said makes sense…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You made a lot of sense here, Dave! And you’ve added really keen insights! I so appreciate what you say about our needing to encourage new believers so that they know they are not alone and so that they are better able to withstand the “fiery darts” of doubt that the enemy will most certainly direct toward them! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful thoughts, and for your kind words regarding my paintings! God bless you big time, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn, A thoughtful and creative approach to your story, Esther’s story, and the Christian’s story in walking with Abba. I love your painting, too. May the Lord richly bless your creativity and give you in-depth insight into His love for you. Many blessings, Karen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you with all my heart, Karen! Your encouragement means so much to me since I so appreciate your wise and deep approach to life and God’s Word. I love your blog. God bless you beyond all that you can imagine!

      P.S. It appears that WordPress didn’t let you know that it accepted your first comment and so you commented twice. I’m just going to post this one if that’s okay since you expressed similar thoughts in both. 🙂 Love and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I adore the story of Esther. There are so many lessons to glean from that book. I wrote a musical play on the book about six years ago. My children’s theater performed it and every rehearsal was like a Sunday school lesson. I took some dramatic liberties, for example there was the 365 day a year Spa, complete with mudpacks. Couldn’t resist the beauty pageant element. Thanks for your perspective and gorgeous painting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love it, too! And how wonderful that you wrote a musical based on Esther! I wish I could have seen your production. It sounds fabulous. And I love that you used your imagination to draw your audience into the story… that’s wonderful! Thank you so much for your kind words! It truly means the world to me coming from amazingly creative you! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynn, I love all of your posts, but this is going to be one of my favorites. Thank you for highlighting the importance of loving and sacrificing for other believers, and for sharing the parallels to our relationship with Christ that you found in the book of Esther. This is very encouraging. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, thank you, dear Linda! I wish I could attend your Bible studies. I can tell from your blog that you dig deep and that we both love to study the Word. You are truly a kindred spirit in so many respects: you homeschool (I did, too), you create, you read and study, and love your family deeply! I so admire you for all of these things. And I’m sure there will be more wonderful qualities to add to my list as I get to know you better through your blog. Thank you for your kind words here today! God bless you greatly! ❤

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  6. I love your painting, Lynn! I can relate to your post as a mother and now a new grandma. I remember the days I wished could take my daughter’s illness. I identify of giving them the best and think of myself second! Very thoughtful post!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello, Robert! You almost found the info…but I can understand how you missed it. On my website, you have to click first on the portfolio tab, then the individual galleries, and finally on one of the images. If you click on an individual image, the website will bring up the image individually (on a black background) with a slider at the bottom that you can use to advance to other images. Between the individual image and slider, information about the painting (description, size and value) will pop up. Hope that helps. You are so kind to investigate my work! That truly means the world to me, Robert! May God bless you big time for your kindness to me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not a baby person either Lynn–but there was that same fierceness that was born the night our son was born—and yes—he became our world—and now so does his daughter—
    and what impacts them impacts me—-it’s like I’ve told my now fretful daughter-n-law who is worried over every little thing now—it never stops…this love of a parent…2 weeks or 30 years…it never stops—a small mirror of God’s love to us I suppose—it never stops….
    Hugs my friend from your bleary-eyed freind 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So very true, dear Julie! And lookee here… just one more way we are kindred spirits! What an amazing blessing from God it was to have met you here online! Your friendship is such an encouragement and I treasure it! Praying that you are able to get some rest soon! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Julie, I am the mother of 4, all married, and the grandmother of 13 (#14 due very soon), so I relate to what you just wrote. I was not a baby person, either, but I loved my babies, and my grandbabies, too. And, you are so right. You never stop being a parent or loving your children or caring about what is going on in their lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. This is a great post, Lynn. I like when you said, “Even in those moments when God seems most absent or unapproachable, He lovingly protects His people…” I love this post Lynn because I agree in the fact that there will be times where God does seem absent; Jesus promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and that He will send us a helper; the Holy Spirit.

    What I also liked in the post was something that crossed my mind as I read it. You said in the post, “The situation tested Esther’s commitment to God and family. Would she choose the safety of self-protection or would she live for something bigger than herself?” This is exactly what happens to us as Christians, there will be situations that we are in and because we are in the situation; we don’t see a way out, but if we just take the time to think about not only how we walked into the situation but who placed us there; it may surprise us.

    We may be placed in the situation because it’s a way for God to test our commitment to Him and if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and commit to God, He will place His favor, protection, and grace to get us through the trials; just like Esther.

    Some of the quotes that I like in your post include:

    1). “Christ, my intercessor or high priest, fully identifies with me. What concerns you and me impacts Him. Even though, Christ was and is the Father’s “Beloved Son” with whom the Father is pleased, Christ calls imperfect believers His own. And no sacrifice is too great to secure our safety.”

    2). “… Christ entered the Holy of Holies to secure our lives: Christ, in fact, continues to seek favor, grace and forgiveness on our behalf.”

    I liked these two quotes because they go hand-in-hand, because Christ loves us, He became human in order to understand our pain and you are right; He understood by becoming the Ransomed Sacrificial Lamb in our place and it’s through His death, burial, and resurrection; He secures us and seeks to extend God’s grace, forgiveness, favor, and love to us; His Children. The enemy will try and silence us, but like Haman; eventually his time will run out and he will be exposed for the crimes and destruction he has caused the Kingdom of God and His children.

    Like Esther, we should be brave enough to face the consequences of the actions that may seem out of our control. Meaning, like Esther, who boldly approached the King and pleaded on behalf of her and her people the Jews, we as Christians; who are the sons and daughters of the One True King should approach boldly to the throne of God and plead for whatever it is we are asking.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amen, Joshua! I can always count on you to respond thoughtfully, deeply and with great wisdom to the studies that I post here! I look forward to your comments. You always add so much to my thinking and meditation upon God’s Word! Thank you for blessing me with you insights today! May God bless you greatly as you continue to serve Him through your blog and in the future in full-time ministry! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I identified with these 3 statements of yours:
    “Anticipating Esther’s dilemma, Mordecai thus reminded Esther that she was uniquely placed.”

    “The situation tested Esther’s commitment to God and family. Would she choose the safety of self-protection or would she live for something bigger than herself?”

    “When enemies threaten or when circumstances overwhelm, you and I have free access to the throne room.”

    Amen to that last one! I do believe we all are “uniquely placed” here by God, “for such a time as” what God had predetermined for each of us that we should be and do whatever it is he has called us to be and to do. And, we all need to make that commitment to God to live for something bigger than ourselves, i.e. for God and for his will and purposes for our lives. And, it will mean that the enemy will threaten us, and our circumstances, at times, will indeed overwhelm us, but they are never too big for our God! We do have access to his throne room, and he will make us into mighty conquerors through him who loves us, if we will come to him, and if we will bow to him as our only Lord.

    Thank you, Lynn, for blessing us with this beautiful depiction of the story of Esther and of how her story relates to each of our lives today. Your lessons are always so practical and applicable to our lives. I love that!

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  10. @God’s Warrior

    Brave enough. That is something to pray for. It is obvious from the story that Esther was terrified. If we look at some the things Mordecai and Esther do as the story unfolds before us they were unethical people, like us. Yet Mordecai and Esther believed God, and so God gave them the courage and the wisdom they both needed — we all need — so very much.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Would I risk my life for God like Esther’s did for her people, He asks us who will stand up for His Truth who will contend with Him against evil, I said I would and I know He will empower me so I can and also anyone else who believes and does not doubt His Words.

    It is so True Lynn what we do for others we are doing for Jesus just as the Scripture below confirms and yes as God’s Adopted Children and known by Him as His own, we are indeed all Family as you shared and we Care for and Love each other Sacrificially which also gives us inner Joy and Harmony.

    Matthew 25 : 31 -40 When the Son of man shall come in His glory and all the Holy Angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the Throne of His glory. And before Him shall be gathered all Nations and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand; Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred and ye gave Me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed Me, I was sick and ye visited me, I was in Prison and ye came unto Me. Then shall the Righteous answer Him saying; Lord when saw we thee an hungred and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto Me.

    Christian Love dear Lynn
    Anne ( Grannie Annie )

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    1. Amen and amen, dear Anne! What a blessing you are to all who know you! Thank you for sharing your insights and the passage from Matthew. What a confirmation of God’s Truth exemplified in the book of Esther! God bless you greatly, my wonderful friend, in the coming days! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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