If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For Such a Time as This

And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

The Jews were in trouble. For decades after their capture and exile to Babylon in the 5th century BC, they lived in relative peace with their Babylonian – and later their Persian – neighbors.

Until now.

Haman, the chief officer in the court of Ahasuerus – also known as Xerxes – developed a vendetta against Mordecai the Jew. But instead of executing only one man, Haman decided to destroy Mordecai and every other Jew scattered across the Persian empire. So he smooth-talked Xerxes to order their annihilation and take their homes and possessions as plunder.

What Haman did not know (nor, by the way, did the king) -- what Haman did not know was that Xerxes’ queen – her name was Esther – was a Jewess. Nor did Haman know Mordecai was like a father to Esther.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read the book of Esther in the Old Testament, I recommend investing the 20 minutes or so it will take to read the 12 short chapters.

Despite the impending disaster to her people, Esther was terrified about barging uninvited into the king’s throne-room to plead for them. In the Persian culture of the day, doing so could mean her death – even if she was the queen. And that is when Mordecai said to her “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

The story of Esther and Mordecai is more than a historical account of God’s intervention in the lives of His people. It holds rich encouragement for you and me in the 21st century. What do any of us have that we have not been given to use for our King? What position or station in life have any of us attained that has not ultimately come from God to be used for His glory?

CEO or warehouse clerk, sanitation worker or high school teacher, homemaker or physician, white collar employee or blue collar, unemployed, employed, or underemployed – wherever we interact with others, we are each today where God has placed us “for such a time as this.”

Today is a time like few others wherein people across our towns and cities struggle with a plethora of burdens. Some suffer under crushing financial weight. Some, devastating illnesses. Some endure abject loneliness; some, bitter despair; some, powerful addictions, and others a host of destructive sins from which they cannot free themselves, despite how they hunger for freedom.

As I write these words my thoughts carry me to a poem written by St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.

Through Mordecai, the Holy Spirit encouraged a fearful Esther to use her position to make a difference in the lives of her people. Likewise, through the words of Scripture, the Holy Spirit encourages us to use whatever position and situation in which we find ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Oh, Lord, help us not be so focused on our fears or our own problems that we miss the privilege and the purpose to which you have called us – for such a time as this.

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