Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who Knoweth Whether Thou Art Come For Such A Time As This

The title comes from (as many may recognize) the story of Esther.  Just in case whoever reading does not know the story of Esther, I'll summarize it here.  If you do know it, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.  In summary, the king of Persia decides he wants a new queen.  After searching, he chooses Esther, not knowing she is a Jew.  Later, Esther's cousin Mordecai (who also raised her), refused to bow down to the king's second in command Haman.  Mordecai refused for he was a Jew.  Haman was furious, and because of that he convinced the king that all the Jews must die.  At this point, Mordecai tells Esther that she must confront the king, reveal she is a Jew, and ask him to spare her people.  In this kingdom, any of those three things could have resulted in her losing her life.  She went though, and by so doing saved all the Jews.

Before she went and talked to the king, Mordecai told her these words as counsel and advice.  As I read the verse of the title (Esther 4:14) though, I found something intriguing.  It starts by telling Esther basically, if you don't do this, God will find another way to save the Jews.  But "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Putting it in this context, the famous question of perhaps being born for such a great occasion gains a lot of meaning for me.  We all have the parts of our life, like Esther, where we fear we will not be enough.  We fear that God has failed to make the right choice.  And we then may think, "Well, some other person can do that. God is all powerful, He doesn't need me."

The story of Esther challenges this though.  It admits that yes, without you God can still perform His miracles, but forces you to ask yourself if perhaps God has prepared the way so that you will be the miracle.  In the book of Esther, God is not specifically mentioned.  Go and look!  The words God, Lord, Jehovah, lamb, master, savior or redeemer or not found in it.  Also try to find some type of supernatural miracle we are so accustomed to in the Bible.  They aren't there.  In this book, God simply acts behind the scenes.  For this reason, to this day, Jews wear costumes each year as they celebrate their deliverance from Haman, celebrating when God acted "in disguise".

So how did God save all the Jews?  He prepared His servant Esther.  He delivered Esther to Mordecai after her father's death, He made her the most beautiful woman in the land, and He provided the opportunity for her to become queen.  God then used her at the opportune moment to save His people in a natural-even if miraculous-way.  So the question comes again, could God have chosen another way?  Of course.  But God chose Esther to be His method of deliverance.  She was born for such a time as that.

And so it is in each of our own lives.  Can God's miracles happen without us?  Yes, they can.  But God has chosen to work His miracles through us.  Each of us has something in us that God has planted, miracles waiting to sprout.  And when some challenge comes, and when we fear, we may want to run.  But the question made of Esther applies to us, maybe each one of us was born for such a time as this.  Maybe each one of us has been prepared for that moment.  Maybe God's choice is to work His great miracle through us.  

And I believe that is part of what He wanted to teach.  God can work without us, but that is not what He wants.  He wants to work with us and through us.  He loves us, and believes in us.  He knows, that with His caring love and guidance, we can be the provider of His miracles.

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