Such time as this

You are here for a reason. The time and place you were born, the parents you were given, and the features that make up your appearance are not an accident. Your parents may not have expected you, but God did. In fact, He created you. God made you special, your DNA is like no other, and your fingerprints are yours alone; there is literally no one in the world like you.

You were made for a purpose.

We live in a world, however, that constantly tells us not to be happy with ourselves. That our lives should appear as exciting as the celebrities on television, and that we should have a constant desire for material things.

This type of attitude is completely against the lifestyle that a Christian should live. A worldly person focuses on the temporary comforts of this life where beauty fades and all our works come to an end. The Christian, on the other hand, knows this life is temporary and focuses their time and talents in preparing for the true eternal life to come.

It is easy, however, for any Christian to become discouraged and begin wanting more of what the world has to offer. In moments of despair always remember Scripture is your source of comfort and encouragement. God has given us many Biblical stories of how other believers have struggled as we have. In their struggles they came to fully realize what God has written in Scripture:

“…all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan.”1

The story of Esther is an excellent source of encouragement. Esther found herself living in a place she did not want and facing a problem she did not cause. For centuries her life has served as one of the greatest examples of trusting God in the circumstances He places us in.

Esther was a young woman living in Persia during the time when the Jews were driven out of their land. Her parents were no longer alive and she lived with her older cousin Mordecai. Scripture tells us:

…Mordecai had adopted Esther as his own daughter when her father and mother died. She had a good figure and a beautiful face.2

It was a desire of the Jews to leave Persia and return to their homeland of Israel. As foreigners they were often treated with hostility while living and working in lands that were not their own. This must have been especially difficult for Esther as she was still young and missing her parents.

The king of Persia was a man named Xerxes. His nation was the greatest in the world at the time and King Xerxes was accustomed to showing it. One night, at the end of one of his parties, Xerxes called for his wife, Queen Vashti. He wanted to show her off to the guests. The queen knew what he was doing and refused his orders. This denial embarrassed and angered the king. He decided to remove her from his palace and take away her crown.

In order to find a new queen, the king held a beauty pageant. His servants went out to find the most beautiful women from around the kingdom and bring them into the king’s palace. He would then select the new queen. Esther was taken from her cousin Mordecai’s house as one of the ladies chosen.

Mordecai was a keeper of the king’s gates and this allowed him the opportunity to check on his cousin Esther daily. He instructed her to keep her nationality a secret.

The palace servants prepared the women to be paraded in front of the king and offered them jewelry, beautiful clothing, and other items to help each one stand out from the rest of the women. Esther refused all of these. She knew that if she was not chosen as queen she would spend the rest of her life as a lowly concubine. In spite of this reality, Esther allowed only her natural God given beauty to be her only characteristic. Scripture tells us:

The king loved Esther more than any of the other young women, and she became his favorite...King Xerxes put a crown on Esther’s head and made her the new queen.3

And so it was, that this simple Jewish girl became queen of a foreign country. It was a true Cinderella story, but this was not the life God had fully intended for Esther. God had an even greater purpose for her.

Shortly after becoming queen, King Xerxes appointed a man named Haman as Prime Minister over his Persian Kingdom. In recognition of his high status everyone at the king’s gate would bow to him. Mordecai, however, refused to bow his knee to anyone, but God alone.

When Haman learned that Mordecai was a Jew and saw that he refused to bow he became infuriated. As an act of revenge, Haman desired to kill Mordecai and exterminate every Jew in Persia.

Haman convinced King Xerxes that the Jews could not be trusted because they served their God above him. The king allowed Haman to issue a royal decree in every province that on a certain day, every Jew in the land including women and children were to be killed.

Upon hearing this news the Jews became greatly alarmed and mourned deeply. When Mordecai learned of this decree he urged Esther to speak to the king and change his mind.

Esther was very reluctant to do this because anyone (including the queen) could not see the king unless he called for them. If they tried, they would be put to death.

In spite of the danger, Mordecai encouraged Esther to try anyway. The words he chose to motivate her have been considered some of the most profound and inspirational ever recorded in Scripture:

“Esther, don’t think that just because you live in the king’s palace you will be the only Jew to escape. If you keep quiet now, help and freedom for the Jews will come from another place. But you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, maybe you have been chosen to be the queen for such a time as this.”4

Esther understood that God had planned this very moment. She asked her cousin to encourage her by fasting with the other Jews for three days and in these equally elegant words she put her life in God’s hands:

After we fast, I will go to the king. I know it is against the law to go to the king if he didn’t call me, but I will do it anyway. If I die, I die.”

After the three days of fasting she stood in the king’s court. The king was delighted to see Esther and asked what he could do to please her. She requested that King Xerxes and Haman be her dinner guests for two evenings. During the second evening, King Xerxes asked her again, what he could do to please her. Finally, Esther responded, by asking the king to spare her life and the lives of her people because a plan was in place to annihilate them. King Xerxes earnestly asked, “Who would do such a thing?” Esther responded, “A foe and enemy this wicked man Haman!” The king became enraged and immediately put Haman to death and overturned his plans.

Esther’s life holds a special meaning for every Christian. Just like Esther we are called to serve God in our circumstances at work or school, with family or friends. We too must make difficult decisions and stand for the faith.5 The skills and talents you were blessed with are needed in the place in life you find yourself now. God will show you how you can be useful. The Bible says:

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.6

Now, more than ever every believer must fight the good fight. There is more hatred and opposition to the Word of God than ever before. Studies have shown that more Christians have died in the 20th century than all other centuries combined!7 This should not scare us, but compel us to continue in our work remembering the words of Esther, “If I die, I die.” Our Christian actions in the places we live and the circumstances we face are making the impact God fully intended. You came into this world, into your family and into the lives of others…for such a time as this.

1 Romans chapter 8 verse 28
2 Esther chapter 2 verse 7
3 Esther chapter 2 verse 17
4 Esther chapter 4 verses 12-14
5 1 Corinthians chapter 16 verse 13
6 Ephesians chapter 1 verses 11-12
7 This fact is noted by Dr. Jerry Newcombe. Newcombe, Jerry. “Pray for the Persecuted Church.” Truth for Action. 11 Nov 2011: n. page. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

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