It was raining outside, the day I stared out the window of my mentor’s office, hoping our visit would help me determine my next steps. I had witnessed a horrible wrong, done not only to me, but to others like me. Many were suffering, and many more would suffer as news of this wrong spread. I wanted compassion. I wanted a shoulder to cry on. I wanted someone to listen and agree with my reasons for hurt, anger, and fear.
But I did not get my wish. Instead, I received a challenge to take that fear that kept me wrapped in a ball on her couch and toss it aside. “You have access,” she said. “You have a voice that others do not have,” she reasoned. “What if you are the one God has given this experience to so that you will stand up and speak? What if you’ve been placed in your position, in your situation, for such a time as this?”
I had heard those words before. “For such a time as this,” were words echoed to Queen Esther thousands of years ago when her uncle, Mordecai, let her in on a terrible secret—that all of the Jews of Susa were going to be rounded up and killed. That included her uncle, her friends from the village, and her—if anyone ever found out that she was not Persian, like she said she was, but was indeed a Jew.
Esther, like me, had a choice. Would she stand up and be heard? Would she risk embarrassment, ridicule, or death in order to stand up for those whose lives were at stake?
Esther’s road to “Queen-ship” wasn’t typical. She was a teenage girl from a small village who agreed to take place in a beauty pageant of sorts. King Xerxes had recently decreed that all beautiful young women should compete for the King’s favor. He was searching to fill a void created by the quick dismissal of his last Queen, Vashti, when she refused to appear before a group of rowdies, drunk, men at one of the King’s lavish parties (I happen to like Vashti, but that’s a subject for another blog). Esther, a young Jewish girl from outside the palace, gave herself the Persian name, Hadassah, and entered the contest. To her surprise, King Xerxes chose her! But she had not been Queen for long when a crisis occurred. The King’s chief advisor hated the Jews and wanted them eliminated from the land. He convinced the King to sign a decree that would bring death to all Jews.
When Mordecai brought this evil plot to Queen Esther’s attention and asked her to go speak to the King, she was afraid. After all, she knew what happened to Vashti—the last Queen who stood up to the King. In addition, no one knew Esther was a Jew—so she risked being found out. To make things worse, she knew the law—that going into the King’s presence without permission could mean death. She thought of protecting herself from harm by staying silent. But Mordecai’s words caused her to think again.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4: 14
Esther put aside fear and self-preservation and decided to go to the King and ask him to spare the Jewish people from harm. Before she did so, she asked for help.
Go, gather all of the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
Author Erwin McManus writes about making this kind of decision. He calls it “Seizing Your Divine Moment.”
"What if you knew somewhere in front of you was a moment that would change your life forever, a moment rich with potential, a moment filled with endless possibilities? What if you knew that there was a moment coming, a divine moment, one where God would meet you in such a way choices you made determined the course and momentum of your future? How would you treat that moment? How would you prepare for it? How would you identify it?"
What would it look like, for us to seize our divine moments? Esther seized hers, and her people were saved. Would the people have perished if Esther didn’t come forward? We will never know. If Esther walked away, God could have raised up another person who might have seized their divine moment. But then Esther would have missed the opportunity to change her life, and the lives of those she loved, forever.
We can learn so much from this young Jewish girl who became Queen and saved her people. We learn that our God is alive and moving in this world. We learn that His divine plan of redemption and deliverance is unfolding. And God has invited us—just like Esther—to be a part of it. We learn that we, too, have a divine appointment.
I got up off the couch that day in my mentor’s office and resolved that I too, would go to the “King.” I asked my people to cover me in prayer and I seized my divine moment. And I can tell you that the joy of having a front-row seat to watching Him move is something quite incredible. And, while I was afraid, I didn’t perish.
What is your divine moment and how will you respond?
Lord, we know that you are alive and active in this world today. And, that you’ve invited us to be a part of what you are doing. Help us to not shy away from what you have called us to do—whether it is speaking up when we see a wrong, or talking to that person about who you are, or simply being obedient to the divine appointment to spend time with you. Help us to go when you call and experience first-hand, the great rewards of following you. Like Esther, you have placed us here in this world for such a time as this.