We all know the story of Esther and how God used her to save His people. I am also sure we all know, and have probably taught, the “for such a time as this” story many, many times.
However, recently God has been showing me that "for such a time as this" isn’t as fairytale-like as we can view Esther’s story. With all of the set-backs, heartbreaks and needs that we face, we can forge through this life and forget that God is orchestrating all the details in our lives for us to reach His people today.
There are so many ordinary details that seem coincidental at the time in the book of Esther that are now obvious to us as we read; details that indicate God was moving the circumstances in a Divine direction.
Psalm 37:23 says,
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.”
God was directing the story of Esther’s life. As we hear this story told to us and that we've each read ourselves for so long, we can overlook that it’s even a big deal that Esther was placed in the care of Mordecai. In addition to that, take a look at these details:
Esther 2:8-9 says that Esther was taken into the king’s palace, and she pleased him and won his favor. Then he moved her into the best place.
Esther 2:15 goes on to say that she won the favor of everyone who saw her.
Again, it’s easy to see this story as a fairytale. But if you look at it closely, Esther was thrust into a life or death situation. She was taken from her home, moved into a high-pressure situation and she knew no one. She had to perform perfectly so everyone would like her. I’m sure she was scared, lonely, and lost the ability to trust those around her. She had no choices, no freedom. This was the “best place” in which she now found herself.
There are times when I am praying for God to use my life, for God to help me live out my “for such a time as this” moment. We are all looking for what God has planned for our fleeting time here on Earth to do. And we want to make the biggest impact possible. However, when I am praying for those purposes and plans, I forget that God puts us in the difficult situations, with the difficult people, in which a miracle is needed to make that impact.
He doesn’t give us the easy jobs. He gives us the impossible jobs.
Just like He gave Esther. We get thrust into scary, discouraging, and overwhelming situations – FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. And it's in those times, if I am not careful, I focus on the discouraging situation, and not the opportunity to change the world around me. I forget that He can do more than I can ask or imagine. I want God to get me out of the situation, instead of realizing I am put there for a reason, to be His agent of change.
While Esther was in her life-threatening situation, here are the details God was arranging:
Esther 2:19-23 | Mordecai just happens to come check on Esther everyday at the king’s gate and just happens to uncover a conspiracy to assassinate the king. This wins him favor with the king.
In chapter 4, Mordecai weeps at the knowledge that his people are to be annihilated. He then persuades Esther to beg the king to save them.
Think of that kind of stress! She hasn’t seen the king in 30 days, and she has to be summoned to him or face possible death. Mordecai is pressuring her, telling her, if she’s silent she will die. This is her moment. Her moment she doesn’t want. This doesn’t seem like the best place to me. It seems stressful, overwhelming and too much. She didn’t ask for this.
Sometimes our idea of the best place in life for us isn’t God’s idea of the best place. I think that all depends on our focus. When I am dwelling on how hard it is, and on my lack, and the insurmountable odds, I do get discouraged and overwhelmed.
We have to consciously open our eyes to not miss out on how God is orchestrating the details of our lives, especially when we need the miracle. He’s always moving behind the scenes, and that is hard to see when we are hurting, alone and afraid. He’s moving things into place to prepare the way, to enable us to show Jesus in such a way that peoples’ lives are changed.
Just like God was behind the scenes in Esther’s story setting it all up. While Esther is fasting and praying, one minor detail occurs. The king can't sleep. He just happens to have on his mind to read the book of Chronicles, which just happens to remind him of how Mordecai saved his life...which leads to the miraculous rest of the story. A whole people group are saved (including Mordecai and Esther) and the Jews are granted favor.
Whatever situations we are thrust into, they are for God’s glory and the saving of many lives. When we are in great need of miracles, and for God to do a great work in our “best places” that don’t seem so great, He is there orchestrating events. Sometimes those events are as simple of causing someone to lose sleep to start the miracle ball rolling. Don’t underestimate the little details He is working out on our behalf. He’s mapped out the "which time in history" we are to live, and the exactly "where we are to be".
Psalm 31:15 tells us, “My times are in your hands.”
Acts 17:24-28 “From one man, He made all nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
Casey Graves is a wife, momma to two girls, and co-pastor/planter of Foundations Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She enjoys a good cup of coffee with a friend or a family date day when she finds some spare time. What draws her to Sanctuary is her desire to truly share her vulnerabilities and struggles to help others dealing with similar wounds and insecurities that come with ministry. Casey recently published her first book, Perfectly Weak, now available at Amazon, and blogs at We Are Perfectly Weak.