(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
For Such a Time as This
By Michelle Schonken
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
– Esther 4:14 (NLT)
When Esther was chosen as one of the candidates to be Queen, I’m sure she wished she were the plainest girl in the city. She was chosen for her appearance, but she was facing a one-way ticket to the palace for the rest of her life – whether she became queen or not. She had to say goodbye to her relatives and her friends and enter into palace life.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering when on earth you will ever say, “why do I have to be so gorgeous?” We fortunately don’t have guards dragging us away from everything we know just because of our looks. But consider this: if Esther didn’t look a certain way, would she have ended up in the perfect place to stop the kings assassination, or in the end save her people from getting helplessly massacred?
God knew what he was doing with Esther, and He knew what He was doing when He designed us in our mothers’ wombs. Esther was able to win the Persian version of “The Bachelor” and become queen because of the way she looked, but it was her inner qualities that made her a heroine. When the evil Hamish managed to manipulate the king into making an irreversible edict that allowed all the Jews in the Persian Empire to be killed and looted, Esther had to show amazing inner strength and bravery to put a stop to it.
Mordecai challenged Esther to do the right thing, by saying, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NLT). She said yes. When she risked her life by disobeying the rules about entering the court without an invitation, she was terrified. She knew she was facing the same king that exiled his first wife for offending him. But something in Esther that had set her apart from all the other knock-out candidates shined through in that moment.
Earlier in this story, the Bible says in Esther 2:7, that Esther was “beautiful of form and face.” But what does that look like? Straight hair or curly hair? Round chin or pointed chin? Willowy or curvy? We honestly don’t know, and the world has a bad habit of changing its mind about beauty all the time. Does anyone remember when perfect teeth were the Holy Grail? Now, thanks to Tyra Banks, I have modeling potential because I have a gap between my two front teeth. But that is all just a change of perception! Esther was beautiful in the king’s eyes, but he could see that she had more substance than merely that.
When Esther was at the king’s throne waiting for him to either pardon or execute her for entering his inner court, he not only granted her a pardon, but much more. He told her that she could have anything she desires, even if it was half his kingdom. What the king shows in his grandiose offer is that he trusts her. But not only does the king trust her, but God also trusts her inner beauty enough to put her in that precise position to do the right thing.
We know the end of the story. Esther had a heroic moment with the king, and with her and Mordecai’s help, the Jews were saved from annihilation.
At some point, we might find ourselves wondering why we have the features that we do, or the personality quirks that we do, or even the circumstances that we do. Just remember that beauty, as defined by our current time and culture, is not what is important. You also have been called for “such a time as this.” You will have exactly the right look, personality, and preparatory background for the calling that God has in mind for you. Will you say yes?