Sometimes I wonder if I’ve chosen the right path. But then I suppose everyone has doubts about their life at some point or another. The fact of the matter is, we can’t ever be sure about every decision we make. When I was in college I watched a film called Run Lola Run (directed by Tom Tykwer). The film centers on the idea that it’s not only the monumental decisions in our lives that shape who we become as much as every tiny decision we make—down to taking the time to tie our shoe or letting the laces flap in the breeze. These little moments can shape us as much if not more. The film shows the same event, three times with tiny changes that affect the overall outcome in enormous ways.
Which in turn reminds me of Esther. I’ve been studying this book and as I’m now in chapter 6, big decisions still hold value, but the tiny ones are every bit as important.
Esther had an opportunity to rock the Persian world. She was promised up to half the kingdom by her husband Xerxes if she asked for it—which though a figure of speech, is still a pretty amazing oath. She invites Xerxes and her mortal enemy, Hamen, to a banquet to make the request. At the banquet she has a number of options—decisions to make. And any one of them can alter the course of her personal history.
- She could, like Herodias’ s daughter did for John the Baptist, ask for Hamen’s head on a platter (Problem solved!)
- She could reveal Hamen’s evil plan—confront the beast head on (Uncovered, unfoiled, right?)
- Wait (What? Why wait!?!)
The timing was right! Her life had been spared, the king had agreed to dinner—now hat do be the time. If Esther makes the request, the game is over. But she doesn’t. Like Lola, she stops to tie her shoe, altering the course of the future.
But that is a monumental decision, right? That’s certainly more than just tying her shoe. What happens next is what, combined with the monumental decisions, proving to me that our small decisions have just a great an effect on our lives as our big decisions.
That night, the king couldn’t sleep.
Now the king has some decisions to make. And he’s the King of Persia—he could get a glass of warm milk, count sheep, or he has over 100 concubines so I could think of a few things he could do on a sleepless night.
Instead he orders the chronicle of his reign to be read to him.
Well, now I can see why this might put you to sleep, but this decision becomes the peripety of the entire narrative, a seemingly insignificant event that changes the course of everything.
Elevating Mordecai in the king’s eyes just enough so that when Esther does reveal Hamen’s evil plan, the king doesn’t harbor resentment against his noble prince, but righteous indignation about the injustice done to his ally and queen. Outrage, not regret in the end result.
If Esther hadn’t waited? The sleepless night would have looked very different.
If he hadn’t read the chronicle? The timing may never have been right for Ether.
What kind of changes in history would we see if even one tiny decision had been made?
Every significant even has a place, but more importantly ever insignificant event does too. Our lives are arranged accidentally. They are carefully crafted and perfected to create individual lives and purposes that we can live to be proud of. When I write, I always start with a character: Andrea, Valerie, Clara, Lucy…How much more so does God start with us as characters crafting each even toward some kind of significant end? It’s only natural to question our decisions and actions, but in the end no matter what we choose—I’m comforted to know that the author and perfector of my faith is more than my calligrapher—He’s a master craftsman.
So sometimes I pray for a peripety.
A reversal of destiny—a change that will make its mark on me ant eh world.
Because you never know what decision today might lead to a monumental destiny tomorrow.