“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
I would like to tell you that throughout this past week I have been a spiritual rock, standing strong for my family as they gathered together in what appeared to be my mother’s last days. I would like to say that—but I can’t. Not only has God spared Mom to live out the full number of days He has allotted to her, but I have (once again!) been reminded of my own weaknesses and fallibility.
Weary is the word that comes to mind, and with it a desire to escape to some quiet place where rest is an achievable goal. And yet…
Though my body cries out for rest…my soul is at peace.
Though details and responsibilities seem to multiply at a ridiculous pace…my soul is at peace.
Though others encourage me to take care of myself in the midst of caring for others…my soul is at peace.
Though all these things are true—my body needs rest, my to-do list is far too long, and I must take care of myself if I am to care for others—my soul is still at peace.
For God, you see, is the Source of my peace. He is my strength and my rest and my joy—and my great Reward at the end of the day. When all else changes, He remains the same. Even when the earth shakes (which it did here in Southern California this past Sunday evening!), God remains unshaken.
And that is where my focus must remain, particularly when well-meaning loved ones and friends tell me that God would not want me to wear myself out, that He wants me to be happy and fulfilled, to even have fun once in awhile….
Really? Hmm… True, moments of happiness and fun sometimes invade our lives, and I am grateful each time that happens. But is it our purpose? Or is that purpose so much higher than a self-serving life?
Again, I don’t discount the need to care for ourselves as best we can, for health and well-being enables us to effectively serve God and others. But when Mordecai confronted Queen Esther about interceding with the king to save the Jewish people from extinction, the queen’s personal happiness and fun were not even figured into the equation. Knowing that she would be putting her own life on the line to approach the king uninvited, Mordecai challenged Esther to lay down her dreams, her comfort, her security—everything—in order to fulfill God’s calling and purpose for her life: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Did Queen Esther realize the seriousness of this challenge? Absolutely! She accepted the challenge and said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
As it turned out, Esther did not perish and, in fact, was instrumental in saving the Jewish people. But if she had perished in the attempt, would she have failed? Would she have wasted her life?
Not if that was God’s purpose for her being here in the first place! Though we don’t all have such a world-changing calling or purpose as Queen Esther, we each have a specific, God-given purpose for walking this earth—a purpose that far outweighs our need to be happy or “have fun” along the way. If fulfilling that God-ordained purpose means that we perish in the process, so be it. How better to be assured that when we step from here into eternity we will hear those wonderful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
At the end of the day—or of our earthly lives—does anything else really matter?