Several weeks ago, I was reading in Esther. My big girl and I love Esther, so she wanted me to read the story to her.
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
Mordecai uses strong words with Esther. I love reading this same passage in The Message.
When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:12-14
There’s a strong message for me in there too. I could feel the Holy Spirit speak it to me while I read these words to Lydia. Here I am living in the king’s house. Because three bedrooms is a mansion when you look at how the vast majority of the world lives. Buying coffee from Starbucks is the stuff of kings when you look at the poverty of so many people in our world. Decorating your house is crazy talk for so many who don’t know where their next meal will come from or whether their house will keep out the rain. So, for these reasons and a thousand more we. cannot. stay. silent. God will bring help and deliverance for His people, but my family and I will miss out on seeing miracles if we stay silent. What if we were given this position, these funds, these resources, this voice for such a time as this?
I don’t know what this looks like for you. But I know Mordecai was serious. And Esther was serious. And the Holy Spirit speaking to me seemed pretty serious too. Just a few verses later, Esther sends a message to her uncle asking him to gather people and fast and then in three days she will go before the king. And here’s the kicker in verse 16, “If I perish, I perish.” There it is. That’s the part that makes us cringe and stay closed up in our castles watching our Netflix and eating our Talenti and pretending there isn’t a broken and dying world out there that needs to know the LOVE of Jesus. (In case this hits too close to home, I took a glimpse right out of my world. So, I’m crushing my toes way more than anyone else’s.) Because it means risking everything! I’ll be honest and tell you where God is wrestling with me. Over a retirement account and college funds (or the lack thereof) and moving into a house with one more bedroom. Because all those things are taking a back seat right now to some things God has asked us to do. I’m 31 years old, but this thing called a retirement account sounds like a funny combinations of letters and numbers (401K) but feels like SECURITY. And I love security. It is warm and fuzzy like my favorite blanket, the one I curl up underneath most nights (to watch Netflix and eat Talenti). But, did you know that God talks a lot about our inheritance? Every day I pray Isaiah 61 over our adoption and our child and our birth parents. And every day, God reminds me where my inheritance comes from.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
And then go a few verses down, and Isaiah writes…
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
This is the kind of inheritance my God talks about. He talks about me being busy proclaiming good news to the poor and binding up the brokenhearted and proclaiming freedom to the captives. How can I speak freedom if I’m too scared to trust God in what He promises me? How can I comfort and provide for and praise if I’m locked in my castle afraid to open up my hands because I don’t want my warm, cozy blanket to go away? I don’t know what the double portion will look like, but I know I want an inheritance in heaven far more than I want one on earth. If I perish, I perish. Esther knew what it meant to risk it all for the sake of God’s people. And God keeps pressing on my heart, “Are you willing to have less so you can give more? Will you be content with your lot, whatever it might be? Will you trust me and find your security in me?”
When Charlotte was a baby, Matt started praying that she would be like Esther, that she would not let fear keep her from doing whatever it was God wanted her to do, that she would be willing to risk everything to tell God’s people about His unending love. (Side note: on days when Lottie’s particularly feisty and I think I can’t handle it another moment, I like to blame Matt because he’s prayed this for her. Just kidding, of course. Well, sort of.) But let’s be honest. That is a SCARY prayer. It makes my pulse quicken and my hands sweat. I don’t know what God’s asking you to do. I don’t know what step He wants you to take. But I know that He’s asking me if I’ll trust Him with everything. If I’ll remember that heaven is forever and earth is but a moment. If I’ll say yes with open hands and a contented heart.
Because the only thing scarier than saying yes to God is saying no.