“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.” Esther 5:1 (NIV)
Have you ever been in the crux between obeying God and facing a potentially scary outcome?
Each morning, I knelt in my closet, taking Matthew 6:6 literally: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (NIV). I was asking the Lord for a new job for my husband, specifically the type he wanted.
One day while praying, I sensed a nudge: The specifics you are praying for fit your job. Your job is Greg’s job.
I thought, Did I hear that right? My job is the job for Greg?
I had recently obtained my first sales position, involving every aspect of what I thought I would enjoy. Yet as odd as it felt and as scared as I was, I sensed God’s hand might be behind this crazy idea.
Driving to work that day, I prepared to present this idea to my boss. As I did, all types of scenarios flitted through my mind. What if my boss thinks I’m asking because I don’t want my job? What if he doesn’t hire Greg but chooses to hire someone else? What if my seeming uncertainty gives him reason to let me go?
When I arrived at the office, I asked my boss if he would consider interviewing my husband for my job. Greg could take the outside sales position; I could fill an empty administrative role. My boss made sure I knew what I stood to lose: a pay cut plus the lost opportunity for me. I understood.
In Esther 5:1, we find Queen Esther at a point of even more monumental risk. For the sake of her people, the people God loves, she chose to approach the king to save the Jews from genocide. The consequence, should the king choose not to hold out the golden scepter, was death. (Esther 4:11)
Whether she felt courageous and confident or she was doing it scared, Esther made her way to the king’s court. She was willing to take the risk for the sake of the people God loves. “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.” (Esther 5:1)
While Esther may have trembled under those royal robes, I believe she leaned into discernment and looked for God to make the king receptive toward her.
Can you possibly imagine the relief engulfing Esther as the king gladly welcomed her? Not only was he not offended; he was pleased to see her. (Esther 5:2) Oh, the kindness of God when the worst-case scenario doesn’t play out as we have imagined. And even greater, when the thing we feared most of all never comes to pass and God surprises us with the good we desire instead.
I don’t know about you, but getting past things that scare me isn't my favorite thing. I have, however, been learning to do just that. With our focus on God as the provider of the wisdom, strength and courage we need, we can trust Him to empower us to face hard things each day.
Like Esther’s uncertainty in going before the king, we have no idea how our steps with God will turn out. While physical death is not what most of us face, we may risk the "death" of our schedules, our reputations, our plans for the future and certainly our comfort levels.
For me, after I prayerfully took a professional risk, soon Greg and I both had new jobs, Greg in the outside sales role and me as an administrative assistant — a job I really enjoyed.
For Esther, her move also produced an outcome she hoped for; the king delighted to see her. Yet let’s remember: Esther did what was right not knowing if it would turn out right.
Perhaps now is the time to consider the risk and move forward, doing the good work God’s calling us to do. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can, like Esther, step out even if we don’t know how it will turn out.
Lord, help me to obey You and do what You are calling me to do, whether it turns out the way I’m hoping or not! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Esther: Seeing Our Invisible God in an Uncertain World by Amy Carroll and Lynn Cowell is a gritty dive into Esther’s story. Esther is the perfect partner for seeing God in uncertain times. Click here to order your copy.
Amy Carroll and Lynn Cowell’s latest Bible study releases July 12! Purchase Esther: Seeing Our Invisible God in an Uncertain World by July 11 and receive “A Deeper Dive into Esther: A Bible Study Bonus.” Receive yours here!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Esther 5:2, “When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” (NIV)
What is one thing you can do to move toward something you sense God might be asking you to do? Share about it with us in the comments.
© 2022 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
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