Courage For Such A Time As This

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“Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. 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?

These famous words are taken from Esther 4:13-14, the familiar passage when Mordecai challenges Esther to go and do something to save their people. Was it a coincidence that a Jewess was queen when Haman made his plot against the Jews? Mordecai thinks not. He always did an amazing job of looking at the big picture. I love his confidence in God. He informs Esther that deliverance for the Jews will come – there is no doubt. It is a fact. The item that is up for debate however is whether Esther will choose to be a part of the deliverance or not.  Esther’s fate hung in the balance.

And the choice was hers.

Isn’t this how our life is today? God is still faithful to deliver. God’s plan is still going to be accomplished. We have the choice whether we are going to actively participate or just be a bystander and hope for the best. Now the choice is ours!

It was interesting, last week I had many friends wish me a happy birthday. I was blessed by everyone’s kind words and wishes of a happy day. As I was reading through the different wishes, one struck a chord with me.

“Happy birthday Dana! Glad there is a day to celebrate a person that the Lord put in a time and place such as this!”

This kind statement reminded me of the story of Esther. It reminded me that God had me be born on a specific day in a specific year so that I could be alive today, doing what I am doing. Working where I am supposed to be working. Parenting the kids I have been given and living the life that I am living. There was no mistake. God did it on purpose. But I have a choice. I can do what God has called me to do and enjoy the freedom and blessings that come with that. Or I can just sit back and be and see what life throws at me. The choice is mine.

Life can be hard. This last year was particularly one of the hardest years of my life. I have made a fair number of mistakes. I have acted out of fear and spoken out of hurt, but one thing has been constant: I have a God who has been right by my side. When I have paused to keep my focus on Him, He has guided my every step. He has led me and delivered me from many fears and pains. For that I am grateful. I have worked my way back up out of the valley and I am standing on solider ground. But I once again find myself at a crossroads.

Some things in my life have worked out. God has moved. I have changed. Situations have gotten better and life is calmer. In one particular area of my life, things have not changed and in some ways you could say they have gotten worse. But when I look at it through a Godly perspective, things are actually looking brighter. I am seeing how God has moved and changed me and those around me. I have seen hope returned and God turning ashes into something beautiful.

And here I stand, with a choice. I can continue on this path of hope and change, or I can stop and let God move on without me. The one thing that stands in my way is true and unconditional forgiveness. It is the kind of forgiveness that Joseph gave his brothers. (Genesis 45) A kind of forgiveness that invites the person warmly back into your life. A forgiveness that frees them from all the guilt of the pain that they caused you. One that focuses only on the good that came out of the situation and lets go of the pain of the past.

But this next choice takes courage.

Another friend gave me a coffee mug for my birthday that read: You are a Courageous Woman. Coincidence? I think not. You see, this next step is something that God has been showing me for the last few weeks. A step that is necessary in my journey. One that will give me deliverance and the freedom that I need. But it is scary and I have been fearful and frankly unwilling to take this step. I fear putting myself out there just to be hurt all over again. But in all reality if I really think about it, am I living a joyous and free life now? So really what do I have to lose? The choice is mine, and I might as well give faith a try.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

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