It was a bit of a “fairy tale”… the beautiful orphan catching the attention of the most powerful man in the land. She moved from her home and was offered all the best that money could buy. This girl was not only lovely, but she was brave and wise too. But fairy tales usually have dark sides, and this one was no different. The young woman was in danger--as were her family and her people.
Beautiful Queen Esther--a remarkable woman who put her life on the line to save her people from a ruthless villain and a foolish, impetuous king. In the book of Esther, we learn that her uncle refused to bow down to one of the king’s officials, and so her uncle and ALL the Jewish people would consequently be slayed. What was she to do?
If we were to describe how “Queen Bonnie” might have handled this, we would have seen this woman worrying, overeating, tossing and turning in her sleep, worrying some more, texting others, crafting an intricate plan, and maybe praying.
Fortunately Esther had a much better plan! In fact, I think we can learn a few lessons from how she handled this arduous circumstance.
1.) Gather the facts, not the what-ifs. Esther heard that her dear uncle and the Jewish people were mourning, but she didn’t really know why. She sent her servant to gather information. This sounds like a no-brainer, but if we’re honest, how often do we start worrying and ruminating on all the “what-if’s” before our information is complete? We start fretting the second a doctor calls us back about an unusual test result or the moment our boss says he wants to meet for a few minutes. We start worrying at the first hint of a problem. How often do we allow our minds to spin out in all kinds of directions without even considering the facts? We should instead keep our mind on the specifics we DO have. For example: Fact: Your child’s teacher is calling. Not fact: He’s in trouble at school. Don’t jump to conclusions before you can accurately fill in the blanks.
2.) Talk to God before you talk to your friends. Esther immediately gathered people together to pray and fast. She had them fast for 3 days while she did the same. This was not her last resort; it was her first! I love the saying, “run to the throne and not to the phone.” Take your concern to God first! Many of us live by the principle: “when all else fails, pray.” This should not be our last defense, but our first.
3.) Take the first step. After praying and fasting for 3 days, Esther was ready to move ahead. Although the name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, her reliance on Him was obvious. Esther’s king was so impulsive and unstable that anyone who went before him without being summoned could be put to death. But after entrusting her situation to God, she was ready. She made her move and went to the king’s throne room. Once he summoned her, she asked him to come to a banquet with his vengeful official. Esther took action, but then continued to look for God’s guidance. She didn’t stick steadfastly to her own plan but was open to His direction.
4.) Be willing to wait. We know Esther prayed for 3 days before she took any action. She didn’t step out with her own schemes, but trusted and waited for God to do his thing.
Even when her plan was in motion, she was willing to wait again. The king came to Esther’s banquet. When he inquired about what she wanted, she didn’t ask him to save her people. Instead, she asked him to come again the next day. We don’t know why she did this, but perhaps she didn’t have God’s peace or wisely sensed the king wasn’t receptive that night. She heeded God’s leading instead of pushing ahead with her own plan.
5.) Trust God with the outcome. Esther did and her people were saved. However, it is important to note that in Esther 4:16, Esther expresses a complete trust in God when she says, “If I perish, I perish.” She was fully surrendered to God’s plan. She knew that all the worry and all the action in the world couldn’t change what God had in mind for her life. She was willing to accept whatever the outcome.
My family has recently wrestled with a major decision--should we move forward with a business venture that would substantially impact our lives? We followed these steps. We gathered the facts, prayed, acted, and waited. Every step of the way, we looked for God’s guidance and trusted Him with the outcome. After 8 long months, God shut down our plan. We didn’t see it coming, but in the end, even though we are disappointed, we have peace that it is His best for our family. This reminds me of Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Living inside of God’s plan- there is no place I would rather be!
For more details on the inspiring story of Esther, you can read the book by that name in the Old Testament.
JOIN WOMEN IN COMMUNITY THIS FALL
We would love to invite you to join one of our fall groups for women. We believe that the best spiritual growth occurs for women when they’re connected in authentic relationships. Groups are great places to ask questions, grow in your faith and build connections with other women no matter your age or stage of life.
We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, since many of our groups begin next week, and we want to have plenty of materials! CLICK HERE for information and registration.