Technology has been giving me an especially hard time lately. Computer problems, phone problems – these only serve to remind me how dependent I have become on the services technology provides me. When technology refuses to render her services to me, I find myself lost and unable to accomplish what I need to get done. This causes me to remember pre-computer, pre-internet times with more than just nostalgia, with something more like longing. Have you ever thought you were born in the wrong historical time period or wished you lived in a different era of human history? The past is often romanticized and we talk about “the good old days.” But each century has had its own challenges. (kind of like “each day has enough trouble of its own”)
Still, in one of my favorite movies, the heroine does exchange her 21rst century, modern day life in New York City for life in the late 1800″s with an English Duke. (if only time travel were actually possible) I’m sure she experienced some culture shock but she choose to live in a different time in history because she fell in love with the Duke who was mistakenly in her world momentarily, but had to return to his own time in history. It was all very romantic, and it got me to thinking – if I could live in any age in history, what would I choose? What would you choose, dear readers?
Would I want to live pre-automobile, when travel by horse or horse-drawn carriage was common? – when farm to table was what people ate three times a day and communication was hand written and delivered by Pony Express? I do remember having pen pals from far away places and loving to get letters in the mail. (although that was snail mail, not Pony Express) I sometimes wonder about experiencing life in centuries past, but I do have to confess – I am quite attached to indoor plumbing and would not easily give that up. (even for a handsome English Duke)
But that choice has never been mine to make anyway. My Heavenly Father, Creator of all the universe, chose the time and the place into which I was born. Those decisions are His alone to make. I can question, but in the end, it is God alone who knows all things. It is God alone who knows the end from the beginning and He has put me here in this place and in this time in history “for such a time as this.” That’s why these words spoken to Esther by her uncle Mordecai are so powerful –
“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
By royal position, Mordecai was referring to the fact that Esther had been made queen by King Xerxes, who ruled over one-hundred and twenty-seven provinces, including Persia and Media. By for such a time as this, Mordecai was referring to the fact that an edict had just been issued by King Xerxes stating that all the Jews who were currently living scattered throughout the many provinces of Xerxes’s kingdom were to be killed.
“Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and little children – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13)
In an interesting plot twist, Queen Esther, herself, is a Jew, something Xerxes does not yet know. “But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.” (Esther 2:20)
So Esther, a Jewish orphan girl, was now in a position to be able to help her people at the very time when her people needed someone to save them from what was coming – imminent and certain death. However, there was a risk to Esther if she came before the king and revealed her true identity. Esther could be put to death herself. Mordecai’s counsel to her was this,
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
Esther listened to her uncle. She did not remain silent. She revealed herself to King Xerxes and asked him to intervene on behalf of her people to save them from this decree of death. Xerxes did so and the lives of the Jewish people living in his kingdom were spared. The two day celebration of Purim commemorates this time in their history – a time when God intervened by using Queen Esther to spare their lives. God put Esther in that unique place precisely for such a time in history as she found herself. Esther obeyed God, fulfilling His divine purpose for her.
No greater joy than that – to fulfill God’s good purposes for her. Like Esther, I want to know that I have a divine purpose also. Don’t you? I think we all want our lives to have meaning and purpose. It is no coincidence that this was the topic of conversation this week in my ladies’ Bible study. One woman said, “I want to know, what is my purpose here?” It is the same question we all ask of ourselves at some point. Ephesians 2:10 tells us this,
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
So God does have a plan and a purpose for you and for me, dear readers. God chose such a time as this for me to live upon the earth and He chose this time in history for you as well. (because if you are reading this, you are here now) Perhaps what He has for you or for me to do is not as dramatic as what He called Esther to do. God placed her in a high position so that she could save many lives. Esther could easily have lost her own life in coming before the king, revealing her identity and making her request that he intervene on behalf of her people. But Esther showed great courage when she did not remain silent, but spoke up and took action.
This may seem like a difficult time in which to be alive. 2020 was a year no one would choose, if indeed such choices were ours to make, and the challenges from that year are continuing with us into our current year. However, we were put here for such a time as this. May you and I, like Esther, not shrink back from the challenges of our calling in Christ. For such a time as this, God has us here, now. And He tells us,
“This is what God the Lord says – He who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.’ ” (Isaiah 42:5-7)
God has called you, God has called me – for such a time as this!
sincerely, Grace Day