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. It’s a story that illustrates God’s sovereignty in dark places and His provision for His people. It’s a story 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. An assignment for which you lack confidence? An assignment that you cannot even see a victorious outcome? An assignment that 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 them 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. I’m an awkward sixth grader sitting on the softball team bench. I’m not very talented. I’m not at all 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? Will you trust God for His provision, 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.