When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther 4:1-3 ESV
Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! Psalm 44:23-26 ESV
People who are out sailing on a boat need to know how to call for help by radio if they get into some kind of trouble. There are three different types of distress calls that can be sent out if something goes wrong. If people run into some kind of danger that they want to warn others about, they use the distress call, “Securite,” a French word that means safety or security. It might be used if there is a log blocking an entrance channel, for example. For a more serious problem, such as running out of fuel and being stuck out on the water, or having someone on the boat hurt and needing medical attention, people use the signal, “Pan Pan.” The most serious distress call is, “Mayday!” This is only used if there is the danger of a loss of life or of the boat. If rescue authorities hear the distress call, “Mayday,” they will do everything they can to help the people who are in trouble.
When Mordecai and the other Jews throughout the empire heard about the edict that called for their death, they sent out a distress call to God. They knew that they were in terribly serious trouble, and that they wouldn’t be able to come through it safely without God’s help. They cried out loud and dressed themselves in rough, scratchy sackcloth and put ashes on themselves. Mordecai tore his clothes to show his terrible grief, and many people fasted, or went without food. In these actions they were all calling out to God to see their trouble and to come and help them.
When we were helpless and in terrible distress because of our sins, we weren’t even able to call out to God for help, but he saw our trouble and he responded to our need. He sent Jesus, our Savior, to come to us and to give his life for us. Jesus defeated sin and death and all the forces of evil that had us in their power when he died on the cross and rose again. Because of what Jesus did for us, we are saved from everything that would separate us from God. We know that when we have troubles, we can cry out to God, and that he will hear us. He promises that he will always hear and answer our prayers in the way that is best.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our cries for help, and for the help you’ve given us in Jesus. In His Name, Amen.