I’m still not quite sure how you mesh Taylor Swift with Esther – but there you have it. It’s a Monday night and I’m listening to the best of the best and reflecting on Esther.
The story of Esther is one that stays with me. All the abruptness of the Old Testament is is there – Vashti was the queen, then she was replaced. All the virgins were summoned to the palace. The king picked Esther. It feels like a strange, perverted fairy tale. But there’s a twist – Esther is an orphan raised by her uncle, poor, and still wins. A beauty contest.
But Esther – oh, Esther. Who is this girl that the king chose? So unqualified. So normal. There’s not actually a whole lot about Esther in there. Haman gets a bigger story. But Esther is the focus.
I wish I had some deep reflection on being drawn to Esther yesterday, to feeling like I needed to read the words of the Lord through her, but the truth is that I just found a verse I like on Pinterest and it happened to be from the book of Esther. Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created (Esther 4:14). It’s prophetic, it’s transcendental. Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created. I come back to Esther again and again but need these little reminders to keep her in my mind. Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created. Poetry.
I’ve been feeling lately that God doesn’t drop in little moments of odyssey like I used to think He might. It is not so elegant, not so defined. It’s more like feeling around for where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be, and it doesn’t always come in moments of praise and glory. It’s in the dark, when I am unaware, when I have a migraine, when Esther finds Mordecai at the palace gates. I can’t figure out how to know what the moment is for which I have been created, or if there is one. I think that maybe there’s lots.
And let’s be honest: I’m twenty years old. Two decades. That’s it. But somehow I feel this really strong, impossible sense that all of these moments are happening right now, all the time, and I can’t stop them. All of these moments for which I could have potentially been created. I just want to fade away in a lifetime of Gilmore Girls and green tea lattes because this all gives me lots of anxiety. When I first felt Jesus. When I learned the meaning of family. When I felt what it was like to help someone figure out where they belonged. The first time I read a newspaper. But how is it possible that someone who is twenty have any clue about anything? Taylor Swift could sell records (that keep me here writing) but I’m working on cleaning out my closet – somehow these two things don’t seem the same. Esther couldn’t have been much older than me and I thirst for the purpose that she had in her faith and mission. But I’m not Esther and you probably aren’t either.
Also, there’s one more important thing: Mordecai doesn’t mince words. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place” (Esther 4:14). And that’s just one more humbling reminder of what I’ve been feeling lately – there’s always someone else. There’s always a replacement. No one is indispensable. Despite our complacency and simple sameness, God chooses us individually again and again and again.
When I was little, Esther was one of my favorite Bible stories, maybe because Esther seemed more like a feminist/heroine/Cinderella than a Bible character. Esther is the queen, but oh, by the way, Esther’s poor uncle Mordecai told her that she could save the day and she did. Esther wins. If you’ve ever met me, you know how much I like to win. Maybe Esther appealed because of her simple ability to save the day. But also, God trusted her and I thirst for that.
Purpose is such an overused word. Every self-help book and Christian anthem that I pick up seems to be a collection of ways to explain ‘purpose.’ Esther got it right though, and there’s a quiet reassurance in that. Esther got it right and God created us for purposes that we don’t have to know yet. Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.