But she was willing to take a stand for what mattered. She was willing to stand for her people. Are you?
Is There Purpose in This?
This past week, I went back to school. And by "school," I mean teaching one-hundred and five tenth graders the art of English Language Arts instruction. Everyone’s favorite, clearly.
To say I have been stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted would be an understatement. It always takes me a good few months to get back into the routine. Time helps retrain my body to lose my voice daily and discipline kids with a firm yet godly love (in the sector of public schooling).
There are many days I question my purpose and long to find fulfillment outside my typical rhythms and routines. I ask God why I can’t be a full-time author right here and right now; I question why God gives me gifts in the present if I feel as though I'm not maximizing them until some distant future—a future I can't control. I struggle to see that maybe I was born for such a time as this, purposefully living through these challenges, adversities, and often mundane lessons of God whispering, "I know what I'm doing. Trust me."
But in the book of Esther, one woman who changed the world had a similar predicament. While she wasn’t teaching the masses, she was influencing thousands who were impacted by her reign and lordship.
In the Face of Question
In Esther 3 and 4, it is recorded that Haman created a plot against the entire population of Jews because of Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to him. Mordecai was, as we learned in chapters 1 and 2, Esther’s cousin who became a father-like figure to her. And like any father, Mordecai pressed Esther to do what was right even in the face of questioning.
My favorite part about this chapter, however, is not that Esther was willing to risk her life to save an entire group of people, though that was certainly heroic and worthy of praise. What impresses me most is that Mordecai, a man of lowly stature and position, encouraged her to see light in a dark, dingy, and hopeless situation. It’s thus compelling to me that in the face of adversity, Mordecai’s response was, “perhaps you were born for such a time as time.”
Esther was scared to take a stance for the Jews against King Xerxes. In fact, the last time a woman took a stand in defiance towards him, she was deposed from her position (see Queen Vashti in Esther 1). This is why Esther notes in verses 4:10-12, “Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai” (NLT).
Esther acknowledged that taking a stand, as Mordecai requested, would take a lot of guts and a lot of game. It was a major risk, and she knew she might indeed die. The king had not requested her presence for thirty days.
A New Perspective
Yet, once Mordecai gave her a new perspective on the situation, everything changed:
“Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14, NLT)
Mordecai knew what he asked of Esther because he knew what God asked of him. He reminded Esther that not taking a stand for the Jews, her people would fall pretty to a vicious genocide, and because he was willing to share this hard truth, I feel she was compelled to act.
Sometimes we, too, must be reminded that things needing to be acted upon often require us to act upon them. And often, such action requires us to step outside our comfort zones and all we have ever known.
Going before the king unsummoned was a huge risk on Esther’s part. Her life was feeble prey to the simple flick of his scepter. But she was willing to take a stand for what mattered. She was willing to stand for her people despite the cost. Are you?
Such a Time
Today, I wonder if there are people, jobs, and circumstances the Lord has placed us in “for just such a time as this”:
As a teacher, feeling exhausted but pouring out your hearts to save our kids.
With that neighbor who won’t stop annoying you, but you feel led to help them anyways.
Despite your toxic home life and upbringing because something within your pain and breaking heart encourages you to help others find healing.
Sometimes God puts people, jobs, and circumstances in our midst for a reason. Often, He hasn’t placed us where we would like to be, but He’s going to use us in troubling events or with difficult people because that’s just who He is. More often than not, we discover that the difficult people in these seasons are ourselves, and God is using our circumstances to refine us for an eternal purpose, teaching us to revere goodness and share it with others.
It’s my prayer that at the height and depth of these mountains and valleys, we will remember, “who knows if perhaps we were made for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NLT)
We don’t have to be a queen or king to take action, provide a solution, or make a bad situation good. Mordecai, after all, simply had a stance, motive, and voice. We merely have to take a stand for what’s important to us and for whom and what we will take a stand.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tomertu
Amber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.