For Such A Time As This
I was chatting with a dear friend and older brother in the Lord the other day. We talked about how our families, the people we knew and our churches were dealing with the crisis our nation and the whole world finds itself in because of the Covid 19 virus pandemic.
As we were talking, God used him (as He often has used this dear brother in my life) to drop a timely word that really ministered to me. It came as we asked each other about our “best guesses” as to how the leaders of nations, and businesses and those in the health and medical research field would do to get us out of the crisis we are in. After we each offered what we thought may or may not happen, my friend said, “It’s a crazy time, but you know what, God has placed you and me and the church in the world “for such a time as this”. Brothers and sisters, God has in His sovereignty and in His perfect wisdom chosen to place you and I, into the world “for such a time as this”.
Those words as you may already know come from the book of Esther. In it we read about God’s sovereignty and wisdom in having Esther live during turbulent times so that many might be saved through her courageous act. Here’s what happens. During a banquet, Vashti, who is the wife of King Xerxes refuses to come when he summons her. As a result of her disobedience Xerxes has her removed. Xerxes then sets out to seek a new queen to replace her. Numerous women from throughout the kingdom are selected to be options from which Xerxes will choose his next queen. Esther, a Jewish girl, raised by her uncle Mordecai is one of those maidens chosen. Throughout all this Esther has not disclosed her ethnicity to anyone. When the time comes, Xerxes chooses Esther to be his new queen. Haman, one of the king’s trusted advisors has convinced King Xerxes to kill all the Jews. And now Esther’s uncle is asking her to do something on behalf of the Jews so that the they may be saved. Again, remember that Esther has not told anyone she is a Jew. So, to advocate for them and even moreso disclose that she too is a Jew at a point where Xerxes has agreed to kill all the Jews may cost Esther her life. That is when her uncle says those memorable words to her in Esther 4:14 which says “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (I won’t tell you how it ends. You’ll have to read it yourself.)
For such a time as this…So many thoughts come to mind when considering those words.
For one, while many of us would have great difficulty seeing ourselves as being royalty, God the Father says that is actually true of all believers. We see Peter instructing all believers about our new identity in Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9 God says that you and I are…
“a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – ESV
Another version says it this way…”You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
How do we live out these new identities made possible for us because the Father’s great love for us and because of Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf? Peter says we can show others the goodness of God.
Here are just a few ways you and I as believers in Christ can show others the goodness of God: ·
We can love our neighbors as ourselves. One way to do this is to ooze out compassion toward others. In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan we see that it is because of the compassion he showed to the injured person on the road that made him a good neighbor. He was moved with pity and sought to treat the injured person with dignity and care. At his own cost he sought to meet the need for the person’s physical health, financial needs. Let’s be on the lookout for how we can do these for our unbelieving family and friends during these trying times. It may be as simple as treating a flustered cashier with the kindness and respect we would wish extended to us as we try to do our jobs the best we can.
We can love one another as Christ loved us. When we love each other in a sacrificial, and selfless way, dying to ourselves so that others might live or thrive we display to the world that we are truly Christ followers. Just before finishing this blog I got off the phone with one of our church members who listed name after name of people in our church who have been loving on her. They’ve called to check in on her. Some sent an email. Some dropped off groceries. Other members have said “mi pantry es su pantry” – let me know if you need anything. Another has offered to grab groceries or babysit for a family. The unbelieving world sees this and thinks to themselves “my how those followers of Jesus love one another”.
We can live lives of hope and communicate the source of our hope. During the 2008 recession and 911 terrorist attacks people were drawn to church. It comes as no surprise. When we place our hope in things other than God and those things are shown to be unworthy of our faith and hope we look to God. As believers during this time of despair, our words and actions should ooze of hope. Why? Because our hope is in the person of Christ, and the Father who sent Him, giving us access to True Peace, True Hope and True Life. When facetiming or zooming with others, make the first move and ask if you can pray for those your are communicating with. Ask to pray for your neighbors, co-workers, fellow classmates and friends. And then pray hope filled prayers to the God of hope who is able to do things beyond what we could imagine. Then, when people ask, “how can you be so hopeful during such troubling times?” let’s be ready to tell them it is because our hope is in the Lord our God and He is a good God.
As we do these things, I believe that we, the church will steward well the royal positions graced to us by Christ. We will see many souls saved and God receiving much glory. And I believe we will see clearly how God has positioned each and every one of us to be used to point people to Him specifically “for such a time as this.”