woman looking out door
Blog, Christian Living, Encouragement, Leadership

Choose to Act

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I have a Life Application Bible published by Tyndale. At the beginning of the each new book, it gives an overview, important information, themes, timeline, etc. The other day, I was beginning the book of Esther, and was arrested by this quote in the overview:

God prepared the place and the opportunity, and his people, Esther and Mordecai, chose to act. 1

The idea that we always have a choice to act or not to act is not a new one. The Bible is replete with stories and themes of free-will and choice. In fact, this concept is the source of much controversy. We all like being able to freely make our choices, but we do not always like having to accept the consequences for those choices!

We are Not Puppets

I have explored this idea some, here, here, and here on the blog. Choices, choices, choices! It’s a constant theme in our lives. I love this new spin on it though: God provided the opportunity for Esther and Mordecai to make a choice. He didn’t force anything. And, you know, that’s not really God’s way is it? It seems like sometimes – oftentimes – that would be better, but our Lord is not fond of playing the role of a puppeteer; He desires our involvement and our engagement.

I feel like that this is just another way that God demonstrates Himself as a loving Father: He provides His children with choices and opportunities, and allows them to grow through the experience. He provides tools and guidance as we seek Him, but ultimately, the decisions are our own.

Esther became the queen of Persia. This was a divine set-up by God; she was now positioned to be the deliverer for the Jewish nation. However, look at what Mordecai says to her in 4:14:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place…

If you keep quiet. Esther had the choice to remain silent. Yes, God had divinely appointed her to a position of power. (As a side note, Esther had a part in this also, I believe, by cultivating her own inward character and outward beauty.) But, at the eleventh hour, Esther had to decide within herself if she was willing to use her strategic position for the sake of her people…and risk losing her life.

woman looking out door
Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

The Consequences

We know, we know, we know! All of our choices have consequences. In this case, Esther’s choice not to act and to take the safer route for her personally might have led to the annihilation of the Jewish nation. I say might have because look again at what Mordecai says verse 14:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place

Deliverance will arise from some other place…So, it’s possible that God would have appointed another choice for a different person to become the deliverer for His people. But who knows what would have happened in the interim? Mordecai uses a little fear tactic to persuade Esther when he assures her that should she choose not to act, she would watch her relatives die and she, herself, would not be saved (verse 14). Sometimes we need other people to help put our choices in perspective!

For Such a Time

Then comes the well-known and well-loved question asked by Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, at the end of verse 14:

Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?

I think we are all stirred by the purpose and plan of God implied in his question. We think, if God appointed Esther to be queen so that she could ultimately save her people, what door has God opened for me that leads to a purpose higher than what I can see right now?

We never know the ultimate end of the choices that God sends our way. Yes, most are simply the mundane choices of life that we must use wisdom to make daily. But we know that some choices come along with the power to impact our own lives and the lives of others in a far greater way. Isaiah reminds us that God’s ways are beyond our complete understanding; sometimes a door opens for us that will lead to the unexpected.

landscape with question

But many times, these doors of greater impact often involve discomfort. What are we willing to risk to see the miraculous works of God in our lives and those in our circle of influence? What do we feel nudged to say “yes” to but feel insecure about? What is the consequence of always taking the safe route? Do you see a way that you’ve been divinely set-up in a strategic position to glorify God?

Courage, Dear One

These risky but God-appointed choices make us fearful sometimes. But, take heart. We know that where God guides, He provides. He won’t ask you to take a leap of faith and then leave you to fail alone. So much in this walk of faith is about learning to trust the Lord…But what sweet fellowship when we do! He is so faithful.

What choice sits before you today as a divine appointment from God?

1Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, Second Edition; Tyndale House Publishers, 2007, page 767

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