I find that there are a lot of people who constantly worry about whether or not they are going to “miss” God’s will for their life – or somehow make the “wrong choice” that will ruin God’s plan for their life. Usually it happens during major life decisions that determine the direction of our lives – we panic and worry because we don’t want to do the “wrong thing.” We imagine that God is up in heaven hoping we’ll pick what He wanted for us, as if it’s some sort of test of our faith or righteousness. This leads to paralysis and indecision for fear of hindering God’s great plan for our lives.
While reading in Esther this morning I came across and interesting understanding of this sort of dilemma of God’s will and our decision making. You know the story: Haman (the king’s evil advisor) hatches a plot to kill all the Jews, while at the same time Esther (the heroine) pleases the king and becomes the queen. Mordecai (Esther’s uncle, who raised her) finds out about the plot to annihilate the Jews and tells Esther to go into the king and save her people. The famous line comes in 4:14 where Mordecai says, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” The point being: Esther is a part of God’s plan to save the Jews and this is the pivotal moment for her to act in accordance with God’s will.
This seems to justify people’s fears about God’s will for them with their decisions: if Esther does not go into the king to intercede, then the Jews will die because she made the “wrong choice.” God set her up perfectly to be a part of His plan and do a great deed within history, and frankly, she might blow it. If she hesitates too long or misses the right opportunity, she’ll mess up big time and cause problems for herself and others around her. All this weight hangs upon her, and her decision at this very moment.
But we seem to forget what Mordecai understood and told Esther right before this:
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.” (Esther 4:14)
Mordecai’s statement that Esther was here for “such a time as this” was preceded by a statement of the sovereignty of God in His faithfulness to His covenant people and His plan. Mordecai was not in the least bit worried that Esther’s “wrong choice” would in any way inhibit God’s plan for the Jews. He knew the promises of God, and he knew the sovereignty of God – and he rested in those things. So he tempers his statement in verse 15 with this reassuring notion that God will deliver the Jews – the question is just whether it comes through Esther or “from another place.”
I find this both encouraging and convicting at the same time.
Encouraging, because the truth is that God’s plan will come about whether we make the right choices or not. His final will is not dependent upon our making the right decision at the right time. If Esther had not gone to intercede before the king when God had paved the way for her to do so – the Jews would not be destroyed – His plan would not be rendered useless. God is sovereign still and is able to use even our bad decisions for his glory and our good. So we don’t have to be paralyzed with fear every time we think we have to make a pivotal or “big decision” that will affect every area of our lives. God is not sitting in heaven wondering if you are going to ruin His plan with a botched choice in the moment. So we should be encouraged and freed from excessive worry in our decision making, no matter how important.
But it is also convicting, because what we find is that God gives us the great opportunity to willingly be a part of His plan. We have the great privilege and opportunity to be instruments of God’s deliverance and redemption throughout history. That seems to be the choice we have: do we want to be a part of His plan as willing instruments, or do we get to see God work deliverance and redemption in spite of our wrong choices? The consequence of our “wrong choices” (at least within this context of Scripture) is that we miss out on the opportunity to be God’s active, willing instrument of deliverance or redemption. And sometimes, as in this story, there are consequences for disobedience – Esther and her father’s house will perish (Esther 4:14). But the consequence is never that God’s will is thwarted – for our life, or for His people. He promises that He will work all things together for His glory and our good (Rom 8:30). Our decisions cannot ruin God’s plan for us, the church (His people) – He’s far too big to let that be a concern for us.
I hope this is encouraging. I hope this is freeing. The weight of the future of the kingdom does not rest so heavily upon our decisions as we think – or even upon our being in the right place at the right time “for such a time as this” and doing the “right thing” in that moment. God is still sovereign – what He purposes He will perform (Psalm 138:8). Do not put such a burden upon yourself – you cannot bear it – but God will. Rest in that. Take freedom in that. And when you see the opportunity to be a willing instrument in God’s great plan of deliverance and redemption in history – rejoice in it.
What do you think? Am I reading too much into this story?