“For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.”- Esther 9:24-25
Haman is ready to annihilate Jewish men, women, and children to the uttermost. His orders have gone out, and the day of destruction swiftly approaches. He has even erected gallows on which to hang Mordecai, his Jewish enemy. And yet when all is said and done, God’s hand moves in glorious irony. The very plans of Haman backfire, and the Jewish people are given the right by the king to defend themselves and slaughter all those who come against them, and Haman and his sons are hanged on their own gallows, the gallows meant for Mordecai. This is a simple, weighty truth. Evil and suffering are ironic for God’s people. For surely the world, sin, Satan, and all evil are ravenous to destroy God’s people by any means possible. The world murders Christians, scoffs at them, and abuses them. The sin within believers seeks to overthrow the Spirit within Christians, everyday desperately seeking supremacy. Satan prowls around to devour God’s people. Christians suffer by simply being in a fallen world, for they are everywhere plagued by death, disease, famine, and nakedness. Suffering for a believer is a certainty, and yet for God’s people, evil and suffering are ironic. What evil intends, the destruction and annihilation of Christians, it cannot accomplish. The intention of evil only works against itself to the Christian’s good. What is our assurance? What may we may hold on to in the midst of dark suffering? It is that Christ’s suffering, the worst evil ever wrought by human hands intended to stop the Christ, has backfired. The cross of Christ has not resulted in Christ being shut up. The cross of Christ has not resulted in the destruction of all that is good. No. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him,” (Colossians 2:13-15). How did Christ triumph over His enemies? How has all evil and Satan been defeated? He submitted to evil men, to evil itself, and in the midst of it He suffered. He died and rose again. He was the Trojan horse. As the enemy thought victory had come, as the Son of Man’s last breath was spent, His work began to take effect. Christians were forgiven. Christians were freed. Christians were bought back. Death itself was undone, and three days later Christ walked out of the tomb. This is how we know that all suffering works out for our good, because the greatest suffering and evil has worked out for our good. All lesser suffering must result in light for Christians. Evil and suffering refine us, not destroy us, making us ultimately more like Christ. Still, the knowledge of this does not diminish the real pain, sorrow, grief, and darkness that results from suffering, but it certainly can cause the Christian to persevere, knowing that in the end all will turn to gladness and great joy.
“Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.”- Esther 8:15-16