We each have specific hopes and dreams for our future created by thoughts of what we want from life and what we imagine purpose to be. It seems that when things don’t turn out like we planned or circumstances feel beyond our control, we question what God is doing not only to us, but through us.
I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Perhaps entering middle age to do with it or perhaps it’s the way God has been changing my perspective on suffering, being uncomfortable and surrendering control. Regardless of the reasons, my mind goes back to Queen Esther when I think of these things.
Queen Esther begins as an orphan who is raised by a relative. We can’t know what her desires for her future may have been but it was most likely not becoming the Queen. She was considered a candidate for Queen because of her beauty and had no choice in the matter. So she, along with many other prospects, were put through a year-long process of primping and preening. This was to be followed by waiting for your one night with the King. Not day, but night. Which as you can imagine, meant also sharing his bed. I would make the assumption that every woman who was a prospect was a virgin. This means that Esther lost one of the few things that truly belonged to only her. She lost this, not by her own will, and also to a stranger. This was a stranger who would pick his next wife from this large group of women and string of rendezvous.
It turns out that she gets chosen as his favorite and becomes his Queen. This may be an honored position but it was not something that Esther had the ability to chose for herself. And although a Queen, she still needed a request from her husband to even be in his presence.
Esther is a Jew and discovers that there is a plot to eradicate her people from their land. Her relative urges her to help regardless of the cost or potential consequences. To do this required a meeting with the King where she would be challenged to convince him to save the Jews. Esther was hesitant and made excuses why she couldn’t. Can you blame her? Who actually wants to be put in this position? She could meet the end of her own life simply for going to see the King when he had not requested to see her. Then her uncle says what we all remember most about her story “What if you have ended up here, in this position, for such a time as this? What if God has placed you exactly where you are for His specific purpose, right now?” In the end, Esther does save all of her people at the risk of sacrificing her own life in the process.
So, I guess our challenge is not only to rise to the occasion but to be patient and endure. Waiting can be hard enough in itself, but enduring something that you never even wanted can seem almost impossible. We are human and like to be comfortable. We will not often chose to be challenged and or have our character tested. Imagine the difference in Esther’s story had she taken the easy way out. More importantly, imagine the difference for all of her people. We may not like where we are, but maybe we can patiently wait on seeing the bigger picture. We may not understand what we are going through, but we can trust that God has not abandoned us. We are his children and He has plans for us that are much wiser and greater than our own.