“If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.” Esther 5:8 (NLT)
Yesterday morning as I was sitting and waiting in the airport, something reminded me of an old Chuck Mangione jazz tune I’d not heard since I played the vinyl record of it on my turntable back in high school. I suddenly had the desire to hear that song again. I pulled up my iPhone, quickly found she song on my iTunes app and with a flick of my thumb I spent 99 cents to download it to my phone. From random thought to actually listening to the the song was probably little more than a minute. Amazing.
I can hardly describe for young people how much life has changed in the 30 years since I was their age. We live in an era of such instant gratification. Anything you want you can arrange to get almost instantly. No waiting. No patience required. If you have a smart phone and a cellular data connection you have the world and all of its goods literally at your fingertips.
I often wonder what affect this has on our souls and on our culture.
I smirked to myself this morning when I read of Esther refusing to tell the King and Haman what it was she really wanted. “Come back for another feast tomorrow, and I’ll tell you.” Brilliant. She builds dramatic tension. Gratification is delayed which only serves to heighten curiosity and a desire to know.
I love using that same device as a writer. Throw the question out there and then leave your reader or your audience hanging to find the answer. Last spring a group of actors showcased a few scenes of a play I wrote at an artist’s night. The scenes provided enough of the story to tease the audience with the dramatic question presented in the script, but did not reveal the answer. A couple of weeks ago a man came up to me and introduced himself, telling me that seeing those scenes drove him crazy that night. He immediately went home, pulled up the script on-line and read the whole thing. “I couldn’t stand it!,” he said to me with a laugh, “I just had to KNOW!”
There is something mundane in always getting what you want whenever you want it. It deadens the senses and chokes the soul. Delayed gratification is not a bad thing. It develops patience in us. It quickens the senses. It introduces hope, increases desire, and may even force us to exercise self-control. It makes the moment of gratification even sweeter. It teaches us to appreciate the ultimate reward.
So what is Esther going to ask the king? How is she going to save her people? What is going to happen with Haman? You’ll just have to wait until next week. I only blog a chapter-a-day every weekday ;-).
Have a nice weekend!
- Chapter-a-Day Esther 3 (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- How To Handle Strong Men (passionatechristianmarriage.wordpress.com)
- Women in the Word – Esther (dmarienthee.wordpress.com)
- Such A Time As This (sciojournal.wordpress.com)
- Esther, Mark Driscoll, and using rape to control women (sarahoverthemoon.com)