Heart Attitude (Esther Day 6) Author-Brandon Caudill
Have you ever faithfully prayed for God to do something in your life only to have your prayers go unanswered, yet see Him answer the same prayers for someone else?
This has been something I’ve experienced and struggled with in several different ways over the past few years. For instance, I prayed for my stepfather to recover from sudden illness only to watch him rapidly deteriorate and die. I prayed for ministry efforts to succeed only to see them epically fail. I’ve prayed for healing from Multiple Sclerosis only to see my symptoms worsen. And I’ve prayed for people I love to place their faith in Christ only to watch them reject Him over and over again. Yet I’ve witnessed others beg God for very similar things and their prayers were answered. Don’t get me wrong, I praise God for the answered prayers of others. But His denial of my requests has been tough at times for me to process.
However, I can honestly say God has used this to grow and challenge my faith in Him. In His grace and goodness, He is gently leading me to repent of my arrogance in desiring to micromanage Him and is helping me to trust in His perfect plan. While today’s passage has absolutely nothing to do with prayer, God used it to speak to the attitude of my heart when I don’t receive what I expect to receive from Him. Consider with me Esther 6:6-10:
“So Haman came in, and the king said to him, ‘What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, ‘For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’ Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.’”
Assuming King Ahasuerus wanted to honor him, prideful Haman listed off everything he could think of that would draw attention to himself in the public eye: royal robes, a royal horse, a royal crown, and a personal herald. He wanted people to notice the king’s favor upon him. However, much to his shock, the king’s desire wasn’t to honor Haman. Instead, it was to honor his enemy, Mordecai the Jew, for saving the king’s life (Est 2:19-23). And Haman was assigned the job of leading Mordecai’s horse and shouting the declaration, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
Here’s the point God drove home in my heart through this passage: sometimes the blessings we desire for Him to lavish upon us will be given to others. And sometimes He may even use us in the process, much like King Ahasuerus used Haman.At this point we must decide if we are willing to humble ourselves to be the “most noble official” who leads the horse and shouts the honor of the one whom God has chosen to bless. If not, we are worse than wicked Haman, for even he did what he was asked to do. How much more should we who have been made righteous by our good King, Jesus.
Here are the questions I’m asking myself today:
- Am I willing to humble myself, repent of my pride, and trust that God knows best about the situations going on in my life?
- Am I content to have God deny my prayers, humbly declaring with Jesus “Not my will, but Your’s be done” (Lk 22:42)?
- Am I willing to be used by God to be a blessing to someone else, even if it means not receiving what I think I deserve or desire?
Join me in seeking Jesus today through remembering the gospel. He is the perfect One who denied Himself, submitted to the will of His Father, took up His cross, shed His blood, and blessed us beyond measure by rising again from the grave so that we could have new life in Him. If God never answered another prayer that you or I prayed, it really wouldn’t matter. We already have everything we need in Christ our Lord.
Heavenly Father, once again the pride of Haman reminds me of how prone I am to the same disease. Like Haman, I’m guilty of self-centered thought and unashamed self-promotion. I pray for Your blessings to come upon me, but yet I murder other people in my heart when those blessings come upon them. This should not be, God. I have no right or entitlement to such a horrible attitude. Instead of grumbling in disappointment, I should rejoice that You are still a God of goodness, even if someone else experiences what I’m begging You to do in my life. Please exterminate this sin in my heart and give me more of Yourself, Jesus. Fill me daily with Your Holy Spirit and make me a man who bears the marks of humility and grace. Please continue to bring the gospel to bear on my pride and manufactured self-identity. May I see more clearly with each new day that I am not defined by the things I have or the recognition I get from others. Instead, I am defined by You and what You did for me on the cross. May I be done with worshiping at the altar of the false idol of pride. Instead, may I worship You alone, the One who humbly denied Himself and bore the cross for prideful sinners like me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace. I pray this in Your most precious name. Amen.