When I was considering Esther, and what I would say about her, THIS is not what I planned on saying.
I had thoughts of husbands, and communication. There's a lesson to be learned about that, and MAYBE I will return to it, but the Holy Spirit whispered a different message into my heart this morning, and that is what I will share. Those quiet moments in the morning, when I manage to drag my tired body out of bed, to savour the stillness with my Saviour, are ALWAYS worth it. Those are the moments when I hear His voice speaking to me.
Esther. "Fair and Beautiful". A girl, carried away in the captivity. Her parents are dead, and she lives with her cousin, Mordecai. They live in a foreign land, far away from all that they knew and loved - most certainly separated, by traumatic circumstances, from those they held dear.
Esther. Taken into "custody" - a prisoner. A year spent preparing herself for a glorified beauty pageant. All her days spent amongst those primping and preening - all for the possibility of becoming the Queen of a mighty ruler. Paraded before a godless king, to have her beauty admired.
Esther. The one admired by those around her - her inward beauty most likely shining forth, even then, as well as that outward beauty. The one chosen by the King, obtaining grace and favour in his sight, over all the other maidens.
What struck my heart this morning was this.
She was a woman who accepted.
She gently, quietly, without fuss and drama, ACCEPTED her situation.
Who would CHOOSE to be taken captive, as a young girl, far away from all you held dear?
Who would CHOOSE to be paraded, like an animal in a market - gazed upon, weighed up alongside the others - to be the potential Queen of a ruler looking only upon your outward appearance? An ungodly King, apparently easily influenced by those he places in power alongside him.
Esther didn't choose the situation she was in, yet she calmly accepted it all, and MORE.
She became a woman who owned her life. She became a woman who accepted what God had given her as her portion, and poured herself into it. She emptied herself into the situation she was in, and redeemed it to the glory of God, by redeeming the people of God.
She quickly took upon her role of a supportive wife and helped to save him from the plotting of his enemies (chapter 2:21-23). She didn't have to do that. She could have sat quietly by, whilst the husband she didn't choose for herself, and a man who had so easily dismissed his previous wife, was assassinated. But no, that was not in her nature, nor a reflection of the inner beauty she possessed. She owned her life by being everything that she should have been.
She placed herself in a place of potential sacrifice, in order to approach her husband.
"If I perish, I perish."
She was willing to die for those she loved.
Knowing the King, and what had happened to Vashti, she didn't admit defeat, and think there was nothing she could do. Instead, she immediately fasted and sought a solution to the dire situation. She found herself in a state of affairs that put those she cared so deeply for at risk, and she went about making sure that she saved them. She set aside her earthly comforts, to seek heavenly counsel about her situation. We are told she fasted, and this invariably, in scripture, goes hand in hand with prayer. It's an assumption, but one that is not unlikely. She put self aside, in order to live fully, sacrificially, and with compassion, in the situation she was in.
What lesson did the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart, this morning?
We cannot always choose the situations we find ourselves in. In God's sovereign dealings with our life, we may find ourselves in a place not of our choosing. We may experience heartache. We may be thrust into situations that are hard. We may have to go through trials that test us on many levels. We may be in relationships that require patience and grace. We may be in marriage that is far from perfect. We may be far from those we love.
It's not right for us to fight the perfect plan of God. It's not right for us to grumble, to complain.
God did not create us to live a mundane life, where we don't embrace the season we are in and live it with passion.
We are to be "Esthers". Esther was the outliving of the words of Paul.
"For to me to live is CHRIST, and to die is gain".
He didn't say "For to me to exist".
He didn't say " For me to endure".
He said, "For to me to LIVE".
We can only live fully, to God's glory, if we do everything in our power to live it for HIM.
To honour Him.
To praise Him.
To obey Him.
To joyfully embrace and own where He has us.
It cannot be done in our own power.
It cannot be done for our own gain.
God has placed you in your situation "for such a time as this". Like Esther, you have a work to do, right where you are. The circumstances don't dismiss you from this delightful duty - they simply dictate the way you will live it out. Each with our own story, to HIS glory.
Our lives can be lived as ones of incredible influence, just like Esther. No matter where we are, or who we come into contact with, we can influence others greatly, for God's kingdom, if we accept our circumstances, and live fully devoted to God. I am sure Esther never imagined, as a child fleeing persecution, that she would be so greatly used in the wonderful plan that God had for the redemption of His chosen people. Esther, willing to be used. Not sitting by, simply existing. Willing to go, with confidence, to live a life of boldness. A life that would be recorded for the generations to come, to read of her willingness to serve in the hard places.
Am I willing to live that kind of life? To accept, with humility and a burning passion to see Christ glorified, RIGHT HERE?
I don't need to be in a palace. I don't need to be on the mission field. I don't even need to go outside of my HOME.
God can work in me, and through me, if I am willing to live a life that is bold and full - owning my life, glorifying Him, and faithfully following His lead.