This was my most recent article for AWM. I believe it can relate to anyone though.
Do you ever imagine we are on an extended trip, living in a land we never expected? I would never have chosen this trip. I didn’t pack appropriately for it. I don’t even like the accommodations! You too?
But when I read Scripture, I find this happens more often than not. Some of the Biblical characters went willingly to the unknown, some fought it the whole way. Some were there because of other people’s actions, some were there because of their own. Let’s see…
I was thrilled recently to find someone else in the Bible who was sent to a land she never planned.
But I was struck by something I never noticed before.
Esther 2:8 (ESV) So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.
It never occurred to me that Esther was most likely there against her will. I guess I had this romantic image of her attending a voluntary beauty pageant.
But this verse leads me to think otherwise. The king made a proclamation for the gathering of young virgins in the land. She was taken away to the king’s palace to prepare for the “pageant”. I’m preparing for a “pageant” also– God is preparing my heart for the Bride’s feast in Revelation!
Esther went through lots of preparation before and during the pageant, but I find great encouragement knowing that Esther was ready for her uncle’s statement and the climax to the story in chapter four.
Esther 4:14 ESV And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Can I ever imagine that I could be used for God’s Kingdom when I am in the “land” of widowhood, where I never planned to be? Could I be at this point in history for a reason?
I sometimes fall into the trap of my fantasy–my marriage lasting into old age, ministering to my friends from the vantage point of a wife, raising my children with my husband, etc. What I am living now is far from that fantasy! I get so frustrated having to make decisions regarding an old vehicle and lots of kids to transport around town. I am “over” living in this “land” and wish to be back in the “land” of married wife, taken care of by a car guy. Son broke his glasses. Cat had an expensive vet visit. My best friend is going through tragedy of her own. I want to pack up and move back to the other land–the “land” where I don’t have to make all the decisions, where I had an adult to share responsibilities and worries with.
But could I be in this “land” for a reason? I realize, if nothing else comes of my time in this “land”, I have such empathy for my friend going through personal tragedy and a love for widows. For such a time as this…What is my “this”?
My perspective needs to change from looking inward at being in the “land” I never planned, to looking outward for such a time as this.
Lord Jesus, turn my vision outward. Give me eyes to see a purpose for being in this “land” of widowhood. Help me to encourage others in my home to see their purpose as well. You have put us here, for such a time as this. Give me a new perspective today and a compassion for others going through tragedy. Amen
***Here is a link to the book of Esther in the Old Testament. If you really want to research the history surrounding the book of Esther, it is believed to fall between the chapters of six and seven of the book of Ezra. The name of God is nowhere in the book of Esther, but His sovereignty is found on every page. The Jewish people even celebrate the Feast of Purim as a way to remember the delivery of the Jews through Esther.
Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc. She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.
Want to read more from Elizabeth’s journey? Click Here!
Looking for an article to read more about Esther? For Such a Time as This by Sheryl