The Order had been Given
The Jews in Persia were to be killed. Even though Esther was Persia’s queen, she didn’t think she could make a difference. But her cousin, Mordecai, thought otherwise. He believed that Esther had been prepared uniquely by God for this crisis. Even though he sensed her doubts, he told her, And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Do you know the story of Esther?
I encourage you to read the entire account found in the book titled by her name. It’s a story filled with scandal and drama and illustrates God’s sovereignty in dark places and His provision for His people. It’s a story full of courage and redemption and how God uses the unlikeliest people for His purposes.
Esther, orphaned as a child, was lovingly rescued by her cousin Mordecai. And in spite of this sketchy pedigree that was kept a secret, she was noticed and elevated and eventually became Queen.
In the book of Esther, the story comes to a pivotal climax in verse 4:14 with the much quoted phrase “for such a time as this”. Under closer scrutiny we see that Esther’s cousin Mordecai is actually admonishing Esther for her self-preserving mindset. She was young and beautiful and destined for a privileged safe and a comfortable life. With his compelling words, Mordecai reminded her to consider something bigger than herself.
Esther was faced with a choice. She very easily and understandably could have ignored her cousin’s rebuke. Instead, she allowed Mordecai’s words to sink deep into her soul. She chose courage. She set aside her thoughts of comfort and risked everything while trusting God’s equipping…. for such a time as this. And because she did, her actions changed the course of history and saved her people.
Have you ever been tapped for an Esther assignment? An assignment that looms large. One for which you lack confidence? An assignment that you cannot even see a victorious outcome? And one you didn’t especially choose, but it chose you?
Ian moves home, again.
Ian has survived the seven-week dorm living experiment. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t awful either. While it has been a learning experience for all of us, a permanent next step is unclear. For now Ian moves home while we figure out where he goes from here. Compounding that unwanted move for both of us, his art show opens this coming Friday here in Albuquerque. An event that he, and several supporting him, have worked towards for more than a year. Let’s just say emotions are running hot around here. For more information about Ian’s art show click this link … Harwood Art Exhibit (Please come if you’re able!)
My Kingdom Assignment
As I was grumbling about my dreaded assignment (mom and primary planner of next steps for a resistant brain injured 23 yr old), the Lord directed me to revisit the story of Esther. I’m certainly in no position to change the course of history or save my nation. But, I do feel the weight of what seems like Mordecai’s tap on my shoulder. It seems as if I hear Mordecai’s penetrating words saying to me… “Perhaps you have been given skills and experiences, connections and resources, tenacity and intuitions so that just at this very moment you could do what no one else could do, you could be what no one else could be. God made you just as you are because he wanted someone just like you to be Ian’s mom. Maybe all this happened and you came to be here for just such a time as this.” Stunned by my own thoughts, I’m speechless. I can’t argue with that!
Like Esther, I too am faced with a decision. I can continue to feel put upon and grumble. Or I can walk tall, believing that the Lord has prepared me; the Lord has chosen me; the Lord has called me “for such a time as this.”
To miss a kingdom assignment because we’re too proud, or too preoccupied with our own comfort, or too stubborn to consider any way forward other than the one we can see, is a tragedy.
As I wrestle with my thoughts, I can’t help but recognize how small and insignificant my assignment seems. Come on God. I mean, Esther saved her nation.
Matthew 25:21 . 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Humbled I realize kingdom assignments can be big and grandiose. But they always start out small and seemingly insignificant.
It is so tempting for me to run ahead of God. I get so excited to live an amazing life while doing big things for Him (like write a book someday or a devotional or be a missionary in some far off land) that I forget that it’s only amazing if it’s designed and orchestrated by Him.
God is working on me. What if I resented my mom assignment that has exceeded its typical age 18 expectation? My character would miss out on some valuable growth. I wouldn’t be adequately prepared for my next assignment. After all, I’m just clay. He is the potter. He is working tirelessly on my character. Character building hurts. It’s not comfortable, or wanted, but it is purposeful. He is using this season to mold me and make me.
Kingdom Assignments I have observed
As I think of people I know and admire, I list just some kingdom assignments I’ve observed. Makes me wonder what is in store for each of these Esthers in their future.
- A mother spends most of her hours next to her young adult daughter who has been on hospice for months with decreasing quality of life. This mom, who may never understand why, stays close to Him as she prays daily for her own stamina and for His mercy.
- A woman steps up her Christian service, accepting leadership for ministry, communicates with her elderly mom about her salvation, and makes her faith her highest priority while parenting her adult daughters with grace. All of this in the aftermath of her heart wrenching divorce.
- A devoted grandmother patiently and lovingly home schools her granddaughter who has significant emotional set backs from the cruelty of sinful actions by those she had trusted.
- A veteran who struggles with depression takes on a low paying job that she is over qualified for because she sensed the Lord’s call. And through her position she provides some burdened parents peace-of-mind.
- A family sits bedside still trusting and praising God as they wonder what is next for their college senior struggling in the ICU with a major setback of his relentless sarcoma that has plagued him since highschool.
- A woman in the winter of her life, body failing, in constant chronic pain, prays every day for her 4 children and 14 grandchildren and probably many others.
Don’t Miss it!
Today, God has called you “for such a time as this.” His assignment is easy to miss. In my experience, God rarely gives us all of the details of what He is doing. Often things are shared on a need to know basis building our trust in Him. But we must be alert looking and listening for His call.
Put me in coach, put me in…
I picture it like this. As an awkward sixth grader sitting on the softball team bench. I’m not very talented and certainly not confident. But wow, do I want to play. God, the coach, looks up and down the bench and sees me at the end enthusiastically shouting… “put me in coach. I’ll play anywhere, put me in.” He passes over the talented ones, the confident ones. God chooses me. And together we heroically win the game.
What has He prepared you for?
The Lord has uniquely prepared you for a certain kingdom assignment, that may be big or little. Will you hear Him? Will you forgo your own agenda, your own comfort, your own convenience? It requires you to trust God for His provision, and His equipping? Will you do what Esther did and accept His kingdom assignment? Will you say yes, even if it seems insignificant?
Revisiting Esther’s story
As I join you asking myself the same questions… I revisit Esther’s story. The facts remain. God used an orphaned nobody to save a nation and He wants to use you and He wants to use me. Will you be faithful with a few things? Will you patiently yield to His work in your life? Are you sitting on the bench eager for God to put you in the game? Even if He asks you to be His water boy?
Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
Anne Kole says
I have had an Esther moment that at first I resented. It turned into a years-long assignment. But God gradually changed my heart as he equipped me and taught me. I was not a teachable Esther for a while! Most of all I learned humility and that God is always my strength. His presence was never more real. So I appreciate your honesty. Be encouraged and never give up! Praying for you!
Amen. Embracing our inner Esther is not easy. Thanks Anne.
Melissa Harris Blaine says
Dear sweet Friend- Your words pull me back to where I need to be EVERY time I read your blog. Thank you for this look at Esther Assignments, your story and mention of others who by the Grace of God are victorious daily. You are a blessing.
Thank you Melissa! I appreciate your kind comment. Debbie
gerrie Dempsey says
You are the order in Ian’s chaos, I know because I play the same role in Noah’s life. For such a time as this, God has placed us in this role for His glory. I love that you gave us the story of Esther, because it was encouraging to me.
Thank you for accepting the call in Noah’s life. So pleased you’re encouraged. Debbie
Dawn Johnston says
Debbie, I do not think that your Esther assignment is small or seemingly inconsequential. Not…at…all. Through your Esther assignment you have helped not just Ian. You have shared your story and your struggles, your triumphs, your faith, and your insights throughout this journey through Facebook, through your blog, your Lenten Prayer Challenge, through your inner circle, through your church, through the faith-filled example that is your life, and through all of it you have touched hundreds, if not thousands of lives, not just where you live but all over this country and abroad. You have personally helped me so much in my own spiritual growth, and I am honored to call you a dear friend. Like Esther, you are a light to many, Debbie.
Misty eyes sweet friend! Your kind words feels more significant than a handsome paycheck! Love, Debbie
Gail Moscato says
I am unable to subscribe. I out my email address in and a notice comes that says “promise not defined” What does that mean. A friend of my sent me the link and I love it. I have tried several times. Hope you can help me. Thank you very much.
Hmmm… Not sure what happened. I added your email. I suspect if it worked properly you will receive an email to confirm your subscription. So pleased we have connected. Debbie HUcke
Frida Bauer says
I’m so glad to sit and read your blog tonight. What a wonderful insight you put from the story of Esther!
A patient I haven’t met in clinic today made me thinking about
your remarks of what God in store for this patient: the patient is looking quite fatigue but not burdened, if you know what I meant here. When I asked her why she’s so fatigue, her answer quite and softly, “I’m taking care of my husband who’s in hospice care right now from stage IV pancreatic cancer. He’s not doing great, but has great attitude facing “ his last days left together with me. “And I’m great full for that. She’s a cancer survivor herself and barely finishing her cancer treatment also.
There’s a peace in her voice and mannerisms. Peace that only God can equip with such courage I feel.
I often humble by so many patients with such strength in such a time as this.
Thanks for your insight as always dear friend!
And thanks for your perspective! Burdens are not always intended to break us. Sometimes they just soften us. Im sure that fatigued woman was grateful for you.
Jane Meginnes says
It looks like I missed this blog post for many months. However, it surely spoke to me today 6 months after you wrote it. I agree God does not give us all the details of how He is going to direct and use us. Faith and personal flexibility and perseverance take so much energy sometimes. We watch, listen and wait to be called off the bench. Praise again for your honesty and sharing.
Amen Jane. Truth is truth. God’s timing is perfect. Glad it hit you today.