From Esther Chapters 1-8.
It is always a matter of when and not if we experience uncomfortable new seasons or have to to make difficult choices. Since life keeps changing, we often find ourselves needing to adapt to fresh jobs, geographical locations, relationships and various circumstances. The good news is that we do not have to do it alone. God is willing to give us the grace and wisdom we need if we ask for it.
There are countless instances in the Scriptures where ordinary people like us were faced with daunting God-given assignments that made them anxious. But when they followed the Lord’s guidance, everything turned out well. One such person was Esther.
Most of us know her as Queen Esther and perhaps do not think she went through significant challenges, she was a queen after all.
She had not always been a queen however. In fact she came from a humble background. While still so young Esther’s parents passed on and because she had no one to take care of her, Mordecai a cousin took her into his own home. We can tell that Mordecai himself was not prominent as nothing is mentioned regarding any position he held. Furthermore he was among the captives Nebuchadnezzar took away from Jerusalem during the invasion.
So Esther was like any ordinary woman of the time. She wore simple clothes, fetched water from wells, ground grain with stone, prepared bread in earthen ovens and worked in the fields. I say all this to make you appreciate how much her life changed when an official of the king came to their home one day.
From all accounts she was the reserved type and probably loved her simple life. You can therefore imagine how she felt when the messenger of King Ahasuerus—who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia—arrived.
The young woman had been recommended by some people in the area for her beauty and good character. Since Ahasuerus was looking for a new wife, she would be required to be at the palace and if he chose her she would become queen.
Esther had to quickly put together her few belongings and leave the home and life she had always known. When she arrived at the palace, she was put in the hands of another officer who took care of the young women on the king’s shortlist. It was a new surrounding, a large palace, women she had never known before and a culture (of the Persians) that differed from that of her own people.
We should remember that both Esther and her cousin Mordecai were devoted to God therefore they must have wondered why He allowed her to be taken to a place full of idol-worshiping people—a reminder that some of the changes that make us uncomfortable are actually orchestrated by God.
Although her new life was difficult to adjust to (it was about a year before she saw the king), Esther accepted it, she entrusted everything to God. Mordecai often came to the palace to find out about her wellbeing.
Eventually her turn came to be assessed by King Ahasuerus. It was not long before he noticed the woman’s outstanding character. I believe there was a part of Esther that hoped she would not be chosen as queen. The position would keep her bound to this vast kingdom for the rest of her life. What good would her royal position achieve in this pagan monarchy? She must have thought.
Years later Esther was on the verge of the most important decision of her life. A decree had been sent out to destroy all the Jews living within the kingdom. That would include Mordecai and all his relatives.
Esther had two choices: she could be silent, remain in safety but endanger all the Jews or she could risk her own life and save them. She did what every believer should do when faced with difficult decisions, she fasted and prayed. Fasting does not necessarily have to be abstinence from food, the whole idea is to get your mind off every distraction and focus on God. She prayed for courage and guidance then acted.
She said to Mordecai, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
When she went into the royal court instead of being executed for breaking the law the monarch was pleased to see her. He said, “what is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom” (Esther 5:3).
The queen later explained everything and there was another decree sent out which saved all her people.
Throughout life we will experience new seasons and make difficult decisions. The best way to navigate them is with God. He does not make everything rosy but we will find grace like Esther did. And ultimately the decisions we make will be the right ones.