During these uncertain times, it seems as if the world is changing on a daily basis. Fear has crept into the hearts of people and it is easy to feel paralyzed by it all. During my reflection of the current events, God reminded me of the story of Esther. If you have never read the story of Esther, I encourage you to take this time to read it. It is a short book of the Bible and will only take about 15 minutes from start to finish. I really enjoyed reading it in the New Living Translation.
Esther is an orphaned Jewish girl who lived with her cousin Mordecai in the land of Susa which was part of the Persian empire. She is taken from her home to the King’s harem where, by divine providence, she was chosen to be Queen. There is a villian of the story and his name is Haman. He hates Mordecai and hatches a plot to destroy him. Haman decides that it is not enough to kill Mordecai, he wants to kill all of Mordecai’s people. Haman has the King make a law that on a single day all of the Jews will be slaughtered including women and children. After hearing this news, Mordecai and the Jewish people begin mourning in the streets in sackcloth and ashes.
Esther’s first response is denial. She has her servant send Mordecai new clothes to wear instead of the sackcloth. Mordecai refuses the clothes and sends a message to Esther. He pleads with Esther to go to the King and beg for the lives of her people.
Her next reaction is fear. The King did not know that Esther was Jewish. In those days, not even the Queen could go before the King uninvited. It would mean death unless the King had mercy and extended his scepter to her. Esther’s fear has paralyzed her and she is afraid to risk her life. This all changes after a motivational speech from Mordecai. He says, “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
Esther’s next reaction is bravery. She decides to embrace her purpose. She calls for three days of fasting and prayer and then goes before the King. When the King hears about the plot against his Queen and her people, Haman is arrested and executed. He allows Esther and Mordecai to write a new law that will enable the Jews to defend themselves. In the end, the Jews are victorious and to this day they hold an annual festival called Purim to celebrate their deliverance.
I think we can all relate to Esther’s initial reaction to the plight of her people. Perhaps you are struggling with denial or fear. Perhaps you feel paralyzed by the uncertainty of what lies ahead. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” We are all here for such a time as this. God has placed each one of us in a unique position and is calling us to power, love, and self-discipline. What is God calling you to do during this time?
Esther began her mission with prayer and fasting. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer is our weapon against fear and anxiety.
During this time we are not called to fight a physical battle as the Jews were, but a spiritual one. The enemy wants to use the unknown for evil, but I am confident that God will work it out for good as it says in Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Let us combat the enemy by joining together in prayer.
I encourage you to use this extra time you have with your families to pray together. Try setting aside a certain time each day to pray with your kids or set an alarm on your phone as a reminder. God wants to use this time to draw your family closer to Him than ever before.
Christin loves volunteering as an Elementary Small Group Leader at our Happy Valley campus! She lives in Damascus with her husband Dave, three kids, and two dogs!