Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Adorned with Royal Robes
“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter” Esther 5:1-2.
Queen Esther didn’t just get up one morning and get dressed to present herself to the king. She had fasted, prayed and enlisted others to fast and pray on her behalf for a miracle. To her dismay, no miracle occurred forcing her to approach the king, whether she liked it or not. She prepared herself for this moment where everything would ride on his acceptance and favor. With her thin frame adorned with royal robes she made that long walk down the hallway, and stepped into the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s hall. And what a sight for sore eyes!
During the last two weeks of my sister’s life, her constant smile was replaced with a distant stare. Both her mind and body were emptied of any fight and both were surrendered. During those silent visits, I began remembering my conversation with Beth a few months earlier which brought tears to my eyes, but a smile to my face. Due to the high dose of several pain blocking narcotics, she seemed on any given day to drift between reality and fantasy. One day as we were sitting together in the Hospice House, she reached over and grabbed a pad and pen and the fantasy of planning her ‘wedding’ unfolded. I so appreciated the grace of God painting this picture in her mind and heart with the beautiful colors of a wedding instead of the dark charcoals of a funeral. Her questions warmed my heart as she would record my answers by drawing little bubbles on the page, much like a stenographer would record every important word. I still smile when I consider the questions coming from her place in fantasy met with God’s grace. She asked, ‘Now should we serve hors d’oeuvres in the front of the church? Will there be a celebration afterwards? What kind of music shall we play?’
Many days were spent planning this wedding with questions and answers that never changed, and the same plans ‘bubbled on the pages of her wedding planner.’ During the last ten days of her life, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was experiencing in those quiet, unreachable days when she was finally bed bound and did not walk. Was this in-between living holy ground for which no one could enter? She must have rehearsed this walk a million times much like a bride imagines the day she walks down her aisle. I cannot help to feel that as she could no longer walk on earth, she was preparing to walk to heaven. So, in the spirit of all of our planning, our talks and the bubbles on the page, I share my version of her experience in those last days when she couldn’t be reached between the earthly palace and the throne of God. Much like our Queen Esther preparing to walk and face her king, Beth prepared herself in royal robes for her final walk in the inner courts of Heaven.
“Off in the distance she hears the echo of music playing and soft murmurs of familiar voices. She has considered this walk a million times in her mind, but this time was different…no fear… no anxiety…no turning back. She could finally see what was up ahead of her and it was grander than anything behind her. No turning around this time for she was embracing this wedding day, and would kneel on the altar of eternal commitment – the surrender of total body and spirit to the Him. She lovingly remembers how her earthly father offered his arm the first time. But, this time it will be her heavenly Father that offers His arm to walk her down the aisle. The Director comes to her and whispers that it is time and she hears the music swell. She nervously steps out into the aisle with a pounding in her heart and a radiance surrounding her. Her radiance is met with the radiance of her Father. How beautiful she looks to Him! She holds a bouquet with the fragrance of her courageous walk during her suffering. She is dressed in a white linen robe instead of sequins and lace. Her hair is held back with ribbons of righteousness as she is being made perfect and pure. Her earthly knowledge is being replaced with pearls of wisdom as everything is becoming more clearly seen in the spiritual realm. Her vision is still slightly blurred by the thin veil of her earthly inhabitation of flesh. How excited she must be at the thought of her veil soon to be lifted by the One who adores her. It will be the perfect timing of God that will determine when her veil is lifted. The delicate petals of her faith are scattered along the aisle from earth to heaven. The petals are seen from both sides, the view from the earth as petals of inspiration while the view from heaven as petals of fulfilled purposes.
‘When he saw her…standing in the court he was pleased with her and held out to her…his hand’ Esther 5:2. Her heavenly Father extends His arm in favor and love. She trustingly reaches out her tiny arm and joyfully slides it into her heavenly Father’s arm. The music builds in intensity, the processional begins, and so she walks. As she walks she sees the tears of those she loves who must give away the bride. The further she walks down that divine aisle, the sobs are replaced by the anticipation and joy of her new family as they welcome her into their eternal one. While her heart is burdened for the temporary separation of her earthly family, her new wisdom reminds her that one by one they will join her someday. She remembers that the One on her arm is the Father of all of her loved ones on earth. His faithfulness to love, carry and comfort them is beyond anything her love could ever offer. She completes that divine walk with Him and passes over into eternity.”
We will all march down that aisle that bridges earth to heaven, claiming our eternal life with a King who prepared us to be with Him from our birth.