You Can Do Hard Things: Esther and My Obsession with Weddings
When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with weddings.
Seriously. I was ob-sess-ed!
I remember loving the bride most of all. Her white gown with its beads, crinoline, and lace (It was the 90s) was mesmerizing. I loved to dream of my own wedding, most importantly my wedding gown. There's just something about a bride's dress, right?
Bridal magazines fed my obsession. Some of you probably won't remember, but when I was a kid, JCPenney had free catalogs in the lay-a-away department. Every time we went shopping I would snag one of the free bridal catalogs. I would rush home, cut out paper dolls, and plan their weddings. I was a great wedding planner. Many elaborate weddings took place in my small bedroom.
I was in love with all things brides and weddings. So, when I learned about Esther and her marriage (from my Alice in Bibleland book), I became obsessed with Esther.
Quick side note: If you are a parent, you have nieces/nephews, or other children in your life, and they’ve never read Alice in Bibleland you have to fix this. It is a great Bible series for kids.
Alice is a blonde-haired, little girl who likes to read Bible stories from her cute, bay window (I owe my love for window seats to Alice). Each time Alice would read a Bible story, she would find herself back in time and watching stories play out for people like Esther, Samson, and Jonah. The story of Esther was my favorite, probably because the cover was of Esther in a historic bridal gown.
Esther's Lose-Lose Situation
As a grown woman, I appreciate Esther on a deeper level. I understand the sacrifice and courage it took to make her request. I understand more clearly how hard her life would have been. Her love story was not as lovely as I imagined. As a kid, I loved Esther for shallow reasons- she was a woman in a beautiful dress. Now, I know the strength it took for Esther to be in that position (to wear that dress, if you will).
Then I will go to the King, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16b, ESV).
I imagine Esther was just trying to adjust to her new life in the palace when Mordicai shared the awful news. Her people, because of the pride and hatred of a man named Haman, were set to be destroyed. It’s from this “scene” that we get the iconic verse, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this (Esther 4:14b, ESV)?” Mordecai tells Esther that the Jews will be saved, but that if she does not do her part, her family will perish. She was placed in this palace, for this time and this responsibility.
Can you imagine the weight of it all? Esther was in a lose-lose situation. She could go before the king without an invitation and possibly be killed, or she could play it safe by keeping her mouth shut and also be killed (although, I wonder if she thought this would be less likely).
Esther is brave and goes before the king without an invitation. She waits to see if the king will extend his scepter. Without the nod of his scepter, she would be executed. You have to know Esther’s heart was pounding as she waited. But God had given Esther favor with the King. Esther 7:14 says, “the king loved Esther more than all the women (ESV).” The king not only welcomed her in but also promised to answer her request even to giving her half of his kingdom.
Here’s where we see a very human side of Esther. The Bible doesn’t say it, but I think Esther may have been a little chicken. She puts off her request a couple of times, inviting the king and Haman to two banquets. Each time the king encourages Esther’s request. At the second banquet, Esther finally shares Haman’s evil plan to kill her people, the Jews. The king is enraged and has Haman hanged.
There is much more to the story that I can’t delve into here, but I encourage you to read the book of Esther. It’s a short book (10 chapters) and worth the read.
You Can Do Hard Things!
Are you prone to fear like me? I believe whole-heartedly in being obedient to the call of God, no matter where it leads. But often my first steps of obedience are taken in fear.
I've learned feelings rarely catch up with Truth before the first step. Many times I have to do it afraid. I don’t stay there, though.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7, ESV
The Spirit of God in us is not a spirit of fear. Instead, the spirit we possess is of power, love, and self-control. I have read that verse and heard it quoted numerous times in my life, but the words have not resonated with me in this way before.
Read 2 Timothy 1:7 again. Slowly this time. Really allow the words to sink in.
He offers power, love, and self-control.
When we step out in faith, these qualities equip us for the job. We don’t have to feel it. We have to know it. Esther was a woman stuck in a hard place with a dangerous decision to make. We can relate to that. We can all remember a time when we’ve been in a situation that seemed like a lose-lose situation. We also know the agony of taking scary steps of obedience. We’ve been there, and we’ll be there again.
You and I were created for “such a time as this” moments.
For Such A Time As This
Wherever you find your two feet planted today, carry this truth with you. What is true for God’s people, Israel, is true for you. You were formed with purpose in mind and God is faithful to walk it out with you. You, my friend, can do this. Not because you are able in your own strength, but because the God of heaven has promised to give you everything you need.
Psst. I talk more about knowing your purpose and living for One in my posts: Why You Should Know Your "Why" and Setting The Stage For An Audience of One. Do you believe each day is a "for such a time as this" moment? If so, how does this mindset change the way you live your life?
Share your story in the comments!
Verse for Further Study:
Isaiah 43:1-3, ESV: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Book of Esther
Psalm 139:3-5, ESV: You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.