The “Long” Shortcut (Part 3): An Orphan Slave To A First Lady

The Cambridge dictionary defines a shortcut as a route more direct than the usual route or a quicker way of doing something. It is a faster or shorter way of getting to a place. Humans naturally lean towards shortcuts at the slightest opportunity, even with obvious risks and dangers. It is often argued why waste precious time and resources to achieve what can be achieved within the shortest possible time. Therefore, systems in both the service and manufacturing sectors are constantly exploring ways to shorten processes to achieve efficiency and maximize profitability. In like manner, God, the creator of the entire universe in record time, would be the first to opt for the best, effective, and efficient way of executing every aspect of His Kingdom business. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a popular assertion that God is not too interested in shortcuts, even if they appear to be risk-free and the apparent way out of the affairs of His children. One scripture usually picked out of context to back that assertion can be found in Exodus 13:17. It reads, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” Although God is the most significant stakeholder of our walk with Him, believers more often than not behave and pretend as though they are more concerned about productivity in God’s vineyard business than He. God’s way may appear long and impossible, but it always turns out to be the shortest route toward set goals. Part three of this series will examine how a poor orphan slave became the First Lady of Persia. Lessons will also be gleaned regarding maintaining the needed composure when traversing the humanly “long” hauls when God leads. 

Queens and First Ladies register would confirm that most of them evolved from royal families or belonged to the elitist group. Seldom would one find a woman of a lowly or challenged background chosen or nominated to be a First Lady. Indeed, meeting the criteria for consideration as a Queen or First Lady was even more difficult in the olden days per the history of cultures. Carefully selected virgins would have to go through different stages of screening until making the final list for the King to choose from. It was, therefore, not surprising how the Bible described Queen Vashti, the wife of King Xerxes’ beauty. “…for she was lovely to look at…” (Esther 1:11). 

The King invited Queen Vashti to display her beauty at a grand Durbar, but she strangely reclined and disobeyed her husband’s request. The leadership and authorities moved for her removal as Queen and quickly established a mechanism to select another Queen for the King. What triggered the Queen’s misbehavior and her subsequent replacement were later understood to be part of God’s “long” shortcut design for a slave orphan to occupy that envious position as the Queen of Persia. Someway somehow, Esther, who was a slave orphan living with her male cousin Mordecai, found herself amongst the contestants. Mordecai advised her not to disclose her background because she could have been disqualified on technical grounds. “Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.” (Esther 1:10). The pageantry organizers also did not strictly check to verify the detailed background of the contestants. When God begins to cut corners for His children, He quickly sets aside red tape and human bureaucracies, which can be possible obstructions. As a growing orphan girl being groomed by a male relative, there was a high probability of her looks being negatively affected even if she possessed a natural beauty. 

However, God caused the beautician managing the selected virgins to be favorably disposed to Esther (Esther 1:8-9). At the end of the contest, Esther won and replaced Vashti to become the Queen of Persia. In the standard scheme of events, how would Esther gain access as Queen Vashti’s servant, let alone entertain the thoughts of marrying King Xerxes? If it were about virgins, then Esther wasn’t the only virgin in the citadel of Susa. The primary criterion for the beauty pageantry was to be a virgin. Queen Vashti would not have been removed if it were about beauty alone. Besides, beauty and good-looking were also essential to qualify to vie for the position of the King’s wife. It is the favor of God that dresses up a slave orphan to look lovely and irresistible in the eyes of a King in the stature of Xerxes of Persia.

Humility, one of the fruits of the Spirit, was one identifiable ground upon which God propelled Esther to breach all protocols to become the First Lady of Persia. Even though her guardian cousin Mordecai served as a gatekeeper at the palace, she still respected, revered, and obeyed him unreservedly. Pride could have easily set in Esther’s life when she started gaining prominence in the palace and became the First Lady. Unfortunately, even when God has designed a shortcut for some to their destination, they prolong and make a shipwreck of their journey with Pride and arrogance. There is a school of thought that without necessarily resorting to prayer and fasting, Queen Esther should have used her feminine power to neutralize the wicked plans of Haman against the Israelites. That argument derives its strength from the natural vulnerabilities of the male gender to that of the female from creation. Playing the feminine card continues to be a potent shortcut for many ladies to rise to prominent positions in society.

However, that would have ended Esther’s rule as the Queen if she attempted to force her way around her without being duly invited. The evil workings of Haman, the Agagite against the Jews, were not the kind that could have been toppled with emotional or sexual overtures to King Xerxes. By the timely promptings of Mordecai, the gatekeeper to Esther, fasting and prayers were the shortest way out of their pending total annihilation. Disappointments, misery, anguish, emptiness, sickness, and death have always characterized ladies who depend on the use of romantic relationships to get what they want. God’s “long” shortcut for Esther to become the First Lady of Persia was the ordeal she suffered as an orphan at a very tender age. Again, she needed to humbly cope and keep up with her cousin Mordecai, who also served as a gatekeeper at the seat of government.

Was God aware that Esther and Mordecai were captives in a foreign Land and, therefore, slaves? Yes, because He initiated and supervised the Babylonian captivity. Did God know that Esther lost her parents at a very tender age? Yes! Did God know that Esther had no female relative available to take care of her as a growing girl child except Mordecai, her male cousin? Yes. God’s Grace and help increase with challenging heights. All the enumerated challenges were part of God’s roadmap for Esther to become the Queen, who was well connected to power for the Jews’ redemption and His glory. The Jews could have used no other route to get to the heart of the seat of the Persian government. So, let us trust in God and His judgments anytime He is invited to lead. He insists in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” We will, therefore, never miss our providential way even though it may appear long and impossible with men.

From the above illustration, we can firmly conclude that what humans call a long path toward success is God’s shortcut for His children. We have also realized that while many depend on their qualifications and hard work to occupy positions of trust, others see that as a rather long journey full of uncertainties. They thus resort to backbiting, lobbying, feminine power, and elimination of supposed competitors by rough tactics, which come with their inherent disappointments and miseries. God, however, knows the shortest but safest route to the assigned blessed destinations of all He calls His children. His route doesn’t take time; it saves it instead for all who put their trust in Him. 

William L. Hogan once said, “God is under no obligation to explain or defend Himself to us. His ways are often perplexing and sometimes very painful, but be sure of this: God Himself has brought you to that difficult spot, and He makes no mistakes. We must rest assured that He knows what He is doing, even when we do not, and that He does everything well.” However, When God chose to use the Red Sea route for Israel instead of the shortcut, He explained His rationale to them. “For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” (Exodus 13:18).

Many believers, unfortunately, elongate God’s shortcut for them by the choices they made and by their lifestyles but turn around to make blasphemous comments about God and create disaffection for Him. Israel would not have spent 40 years in the wilderness for that journey to the promised Land. Those years could be best described as imprisonment or punishment and must not be added to the total mileage from Egypt to Cannan. They were punished to wander about until all above 20 years perished except for Caleb and Joshua.

There can be no one who needs productivity in God’s vineyard than Himself. Therefore, there will always be good reasons, primarily out of the reach of human comprehension, why the apparent delays are loaded with intrigues anytime God is in charge. He always proves Himself as the faithful one, with the end being extraordinarily glorious if only we are prepared to go the “long” haul with Him. Humankind’s way perceived as a shortcut is instead loaded with risk, uncertainties, and speculations founded on human wishes. The routes God uses are incomprehensible and inaccessible by humankind’s efforts. It is always viewed as long, although it is always the shortest and safest way to reach our destinations. His Grace and help are where He leads. Stay blessed.

Written by Apostle James Orhin Agyin

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