“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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: 13b-14
Have you ever been so weighed down by your thoughts that you were in danger of your brain exploding? It sounds a bit melodramatic but I’m sure if you’re human you’ve been there at least once. You may be facing a tough decision, or a set of circumstances that throw you into a spin and you’re not sure of the right way out.
Over the past six months I’ve been in such a place and it’s not a nice place to be in. The preoccupation with the issue can drive you literally insane. But, thanks to God, He works through us and other people to bring clarity to such circumstances. In my experience it is in these times that you see the Lord work in ways that show His glory, His grace and His power.
A good friend preached a message over twenty years ago that has had a profound impact on my life. Robert spoke of the term many people use, ‘Under the circumstances’. He explained that as Christians, by the grace of God and through the Holy Spirit, we are equipped to live “above the circumstances.”
In the Old Testament, a beautiful young Jewish woman named Esther found herself in a set of circumstances that make mine pale into insignificance.
In today’s language, Esther was caught between a rock and a hard place. She lived under the rule of the most powerful King and dictator of the time, King Xerxes. The king was a man used to getting his own way. When Queen Vashti refused to obey him out of principle he dethroned her. In need of a replacement he basically ran a beauty contest throughout his kingdom and Esther is chosen.
Can you imagine the situation in which Esther found herself? She knew that she’d be chosen for her beauty and nothing else. She also knew that King Xerxes had no idea of her heritage as one of the Jews he ruled. Esther was in a position of power and how she handled it would be important. What a dilemma.
But the Lord was with Esther as He led her through the steps that ultimately saved the Jewish people from certain annihilation. For Esther the Lord’s will was for her to not only rise above the circumstances, but to show His power in a miraculous way.
It would have been so easy for Esther to give up. I’m sure you’ve been there yourself on occasion. The good news is that the Lord guides your steps when you put your trust in Him.
Know the Lord’s call in the situation (Esther 4:14)
Although you may be in a difficult situation, the Lord may be calling you to be His instrument ‘for such a time as this’ (Est 4: 14) . The Lord needs individuals who are willing to go it alone and carry out His plans. When Mordecai counselled Esther of the opportunity before them, she could have given many good reasons not to approach King Xerxes. But as one who knew the Lord, she sought His will instead.
Prepare yourself spiritually. Esther 4:16
Preparation is the key to being successful in any project, especially when it’s the Lord’s task. Think of all the activity that surrounds preparing for a sport’s event, for Christmas, or for a new project at work. You put in the time because without it you will not succeed. As you wait on the Lord for His leading, your preparation should focus on the spiritual, just as Esther did. Before she acted, the Jewish people and Esther, fasted and prayed. Your spiritual senses have to be tuned up with the Spirit, ready to move forward and on the look out for any attack.
Approach your circumstances with peace and grace. Esther 5: 2
When I picture Esther standing in the King’s inner court, I see a non-threatening, peaceful, woman of grace. This is such a contrast to the media inspired, aggressively ‘Me’ culture of today. Jesus Christ showed us a better way than this. We show that we are Christians by the love we display in all circumstances. To act peacefully, with grace and determination, is a quality we should aspire to.
Be thoughtful not emotional. Esther 5: 7
Being caught between a rock and hard place imposes huge stress on your emotions therefore you need to control them as Esther did. Imagine for a moment storming into the King’s palace, thumping the fist on the table saying, “Let my people go?” Vashti ignored the King; Esther convinced the King.
Be direct in your response. Esther 7: 3
Just as a marathon runner needs to cross the finishing line to complete the race, so do you. Esther had to show patience as her journey with the King unfolded. I’m sure as she waited overnight for the second banquet at which she would confront the wretched Haman, she questioned whether she’d done the right thing. But Esther knew what she had to ask of the King so, when the time came, she spoke specifically and directly as the Lord had directed. The King showed favour with Esther because he saw in her a respect for his authority and her love for her people.
“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favour with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life–this is my petition. And spare my people–this is my request.”
If you find yourself in the midst of a big decision today, know the Lord will see you through it, if you throw yourself at His feet. Although there may be many solutions to your problem, the Lord may have brought you to this point, ‘for such a time as this’.