Operational atheism


“I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow” [said Haman].

- Esther 5:12

Esther and Haman both work the system, pulling political levers to achieve a goal.

Esther invites the king and his right-hand man to a banquet, planning to ask the king to change the edict permitting the slaughter of the Jews. Haman plans to leverage his close relationship with the king to … and this is gruesome … have Mordecai impaled on a 75-foot tall spike that Haman installed in front of his house.

What makes them so different?

Esther’s political moves depend on God. They’re shaped by an expectation that God will show up and by God’s values. If God doesn’t show up, Esther’s plans will fail.

Haman’s political moves depend on Haman. His wealth and his scheming make all the difference. He has to work hard to be this evil. I mean, who builds a 75-foot tall spike? But here’s the thing, if God shows up, Haman’s plans are doomed to fail (see Esther 6:13).

How much of our day-to-day planning is operationally atheistic? The more our plans matter the more we want to manufacture a good outcome … and this can lead us to grasping for control and refusing to consider the possibility that God could show up.

Where in your life do you see operational atheism (ie. you running your plans as if there is no God)? Where do you discover yourself, like Esther, banking on God to show up? Where is God inviting you to take new risks?

1 Comment

I don't have a plan for my life. Mine have failed. I want to trust God with my life, to lift me out of the pit I am in the past couple of days. I have such doubt....I pray and ask but have doubt. As for new risks, it feels like a risk to trust my life to God because I have been so disappointed in the past. I am not in a good place. I am very discouraged. I do not understand Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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