“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’” Esther 4:15-16 (NIV)
During the first week of January 2022, the steady static of anxiety blared in my heart as I watched my friends post their New Year’s resolutions. I had joined them with enthusiasm in years past, charging with joy into our annual fresh start.
Last year was different.
I couldn’t nail down one resolution. Not even one.
A busy schedule, a personal crisis and a year of looming changes left me paralyzed with uncertainty. I could not see an obvious way forward, and I was fearful that any plans I did make wouldn’t come to pass.
Thankfully, God’s Word is the solution for every situation that stymies us. As I studied the book of Esther during this unsettled time, God gave me a new perspective. Instead of seeing Esther as a queen with a tiara, I saw her as a woman like me. A woman with uncertainty swirling around her.
When Esther was asked by her uncle Mordecai to go to her husband, the king, to interrupt a genocidal plot, she was wise. Esther 4:15-16 tells us, “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’”
Before charging into a risky act with an undetermined outcome, she took two powerful steps. This is a path we can follow today to steady us in uncertainty.
- Pause for the plan.
Esther didn’t react immediately. She paused. It wasn’t a passive pause, though; Esther took three days to fast, a scriptural practice of abstaining from food to hear from God.
Instead of flailing ahead with our own ideas and agendas, let’s follow Esther’s example by getting quiet, sharpening our spiritual hearing, and watching for God’s perfect plan.
- Lean on your people.
When Esther paused, she didn’t do it alone. She did it with her community.
Esther’s story encourages us to lean into the people around us for support; however, there’s one caveat. Let’s make sure to choose our people wisely. When we reach out to people who love us and love the Lord, they can be the trustworthy sources of wisdom and support we can rely on. A spiritually mature community can be one of God’s most precious gifts in uncertain times.
If you’ve found yourself in uncertainty already this year, groaning inwardly that you don’t have any shiny resolutions to share, don’t despair. Being uncertain and unresolved can lead us to a place of beautiful dependence on God and others. It’s there that we begin to pause instead of plowing forward. It’s there that we become determined to keep our community close.
Lord, it’s been hard to feel so unsure of the future this year. In a season usually regarded as a fresh start, I’ve been unable to move forward. But thank You for Your Word that always paves the way for me! I pause to listen for Your voice, and I commit to invite my community to join me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Is it unloving or selfish to set a boundary? Are boundaries even Christlike? Process questions like these alongside a community of women who also want to make progress with their relationships during the next Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study: Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa TerKeurst. During this study, Lysa will show you through a biblical lens how boundaries help you love others without losing the best of who you are. The study starts on January 23, so get your copy of the book and sign up today! Sign up now.
Esther is the perfect partner for seeing our invisible God in uncertainty. You can walk through the book of Esther alongside Amy Carroll and Lynn Cowell when you pick up a copy of their book Esther: Seeing Our Invisible God in an Uncertain World. This six-week, in-depth study of the book of Esther is a gritty dive into her story that will leave you feeling equipped to navigate life’s questions and hardships.
Amy and her co-author Lynn Cowell are starting an online study of Esther this week. Don’t worry … You haven’t missed a thing. To get a free download of the first week and join the study, simply visit EstherBookStudy.com. We hope you’ll jump in with us today!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Proverbs 1:5, “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance …” (NIV)
What is making you feel uncertain and unsure? Make a list, set a date, and ask a few godly friends to pray and fast with you over those issues.
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© 2023 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
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