Tag Archives: Esther

For Such a Time as This

A few years ago, I tapped into my long-neglected artsy side through the medium of scripture doodling. I would sit down with Flair pens, colored pencils, a blank page, and a verse of the Bible, and spend time dwelling on the words as I wrote them out in a decorative way. It was a good exercise for me, and (like most forms of exercise…) something I should do more often.

During that honeymoon phase with my new hobby, I wasn’t sure which scriptures to doodle each day. So I devised a plan. My birthday is April 14, so I started at Genesis and looked up every chapter 4 verse 14 in the Bible. Some books don’t have four chapters. Some fourth chapters don’t have fourteen verses. Some 4:14 verses just didn’t work alone or lend themselves to art (Numbers 4:14, for example, gives directions on how to move the altar utensils while the Israelites were on the move – important, but not really suited to my project). But I found a number of suitable candidates

Nehemiah 4:14

My “artwork” ranged from the simple to the more elaborate, but all of it allowed me to spend time savoring God’s word.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

Among all my 4:14 verses, one stood out. The book of Esther tells the story of a young Jewish girl in Persia. Though not especially ambitious, Esther finds herself swept into a beauty pageant of sorts and chosen as the new queen. When her cousin uncovers a plot to wipe out the Persian Jews, Esther has to speak up to save her people.

She’s more than a little reluctant… Speaking unbidden could cost her life. Being revealed as a Jew could cost her life. She has a good thing going there in the palace, flying under the radar. But in chapter four, verse fourteen, Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, issues a reminder.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14 NIV

In other words: God will protect His people; He always does. Will you be part of it? Why do you think He put you in position right when you could help?

I get Esther’s reluctance. I don’t like to rock the boat. I’d rather thank God for His blessings, then sit back and enjoy them. But as much as I hate to admit it, that’s not the point.

If, as a parent, I just delight in spoiling my child, and I hate having to scold or say “no,” I’m not going to raise him into a very good adult. Kids who experience nothing but indulgence grow up entitled, selfish, and lazy. We all know that, as hard as it is, we have to give our kids boundaries and teach them to work hard.

How much smarter and wiser is our heavenly father? He gives us everything we need, and sometimes (often, here in America), He gives us extra to share.

I sometimes feel God tugging at me to say something, do something, or give something, and I resist. “But God,” I whine, “I don’t want to. What if I lose followers? How can I reach people if my platform shrinks? What if I lose friends? What if they think I’m weird, or I offend someone? What if I don’t have enough left for me and my plans? I’m already so busy. How can you ask for more?

It’s not natural, it’s not easy, and quite honestly, I’m not good at it. But God reminds me over and over, just as Mordecai reminded Esther, “for such a time as this.”

I don’t want to be a warrior.

I don’t really like to argue.

Just let me serve behind the scenes, Lord. I’d rather be a support person and let others lead.

So He reminds me again and again, “who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?”

Divine Appointments: Avoiding “Should Have”

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I can’t even begin to tell you how often I stop and suddenly realize that I had an opportunity to help someone and didn’t even notice it. I hate that feeling, and I hate knowing that there are people struggling and suffering because I didn’t even notice, or I noticed and it didn’t dawn on me to do something about it. Do you ever feel like that? “Should have” is a painful phrase.

Recently a friend told me that she has been praying for opportunities to serve. This friend has a job that brings her in contact with random strangers all day long, and she told me that she prays before and during work for God to bring her opportunities. And He has! All through her shift, people seek her out to ask for help, and to share their burdens. She has started bringing along supplies to hand out to the needy, and snacks to share with anyone who asks. Is God bringing these people to her because she asked, or were they always there and she just started to notice? I think the answer is a bit of both.

First off, we serve a God who answers prayers. And a selfless prayer like “bring me in contact with people that I can bless” is certainly in line with the heart of God. So knowing that He has a willing worker on the streets is a great opportunity for God to bring people together. He loves his children, and wants to see needs met. He also wants to see our character develop, so when we ask Him to put us in opportunities to grow through serving, He’s not likely to say no to that!

Second, a “use me” attitude opens our eyes. If I go to work and all I’m thinking about is me and what I need to accomplish today, I’m like a horse wearing blinders. All I can see is the task immediately in front of me. But asking for these “divine appointments” removes the blinders. If you have a heart to look for needs, you will find them. They’re all around us!

There are many examples of divine appointments in the Bible. The book of Esther, for one, tells the story of a young lady put in just the right place at just the right time to save her people. After the queen disgraced him, king Xerxes held a reality-TV worthy search for her replacement. When he made Esther his queen, he had no idea that her presence in the palace would save the Jews. But Esther spoke up for her people, and they were saved. She didn’t desire to be queen, but she was willing, and God put her there. She was afraid to confront the king about her people, but she obeyed, and they were saved. Esther 4:14 reads, “who knows but you have come to your position for such a time as this?”

I ask you the same question: Who knows but you have come into your position (job, neighborhood, circle of friends, family) for such a time as this?

Open your heart and your eyes, and don’t be afraid to speak up. God can, and will, use you in big ways!