5.29.2010

For Such a Time

The story of Esther can be one of the most inspiring stories for a girl. Only in the movies do you see someone not related to royalty become queen! Esther was a forgotten orphan, raised by her uncle. She was part of a nationality that had been taken captive by their enemies. If anyone had reason to believe that she would never become something great or significant, it was Esther. But regardless of her weaknesses, Someone saw her God-fearing heart, and declared that she was placed in her era “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Though she once questioned her ability to save her people, she came to realize that it was her time to be alive. There was a purpose for every moment she spent in the king’s courts – even when things got tough.

I’ve never had to face death or the possibility of my family being wiped off the planet. And I couldn’t possibly tell you what being queen feels like! But I have had to face some insecurities. Mine, however, weren’t as heroic as being the savior of a nation. They were more along the lines of vanity and impatience.

For years I’ve been confident about what I was called to do in life. I’ve had a list of dreams that have kept my focus and excitement on my future. But my confidence began to shake when I turned twenty-five. I was bummed! By then I started showing faint, tiny lines under my eyes. Little pieces of gray appeared in random places in my hair. (Never mind that no one else noticed, and even I had to search with a magnifying glass to find them!) And worst of all, I wasn’t married yet or in full-time ministry like I had always dreamed. Surely there was something I was missing! But not long after my twenty-fifth birthday, God sat me down for a “little talk.” (You know the kind when God tactfully tells you to stop whining?) He basically said to me, “Christa, you are exactly where I want you to be, doing what I want you to do, and in the time I want you to do it.” So I shut up. A weight lifted off me and I was at peace again. What a relief! I wasn’t off track. I hadn’t missed anything. I was still in God’s will for me, and He was in control.

Sometimes we look at our lives and all the “bummers” we face and think that somehow God made a mistake in placing us where we are. We compare ourselves to other people’s lives and assume that when and where things happen to them is when it should happen to us. Our best buddy gets married when she turns twenty-one. We, on the other hand, are still standing alone. Someone goes to college, but we’re still working hard at a retail store in the mall. We don’t see our dreams coming true right away, and we think, “This can’t be God’s will for me!” But God looks at each of our lives and doesn’t compare us to each other. The plan and time line He has for one person may be totally different than what He has for someone else. Only the world puts value on time, youth, and beauty, as if without them we aren’t quite as valuable. But God declares that our value comes from Him. Following His plan for us – no matter when and where – is all the confidence we need.

I believe God desires us to be like Esther – to appreciate and act on the here and now. To quit counting the birthdays and little flaws. To forget the disappointments. Our lives, after all, aren’t our own (I Corinthians 6:19). We’re here for a purpose, even if it doesn’t seem like the events in our lives are happening as quickly as we would like. The closer we walk with our King, the sooner we see our assignment in life – and all the blessings that come with it – come into reality.

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 14:4b

5.09.2010

Red Light, Green Light

Ever run a stop sign, dashed through a red light, or been caught speeding down your favorite street? I have! Most was by accident – you know, the brain was off in La La Land, and – oops! I’m sure I’ve gotten a few ugly looks as I cut someone off and made them put on their brakes prematurely. All I can say is, “Sorry, folks!”

Chasing our own plan for our lives is kind of like running an intersection light. We think we have it all figured out, so we go full blast ahead without consulting all the signs and lights that can navigate us to success. Throughout our lives, God puts up strong instructions at the crossroads between pursuing our plan and going His way in His time. It’s not that He wants to spoil our fun. He’s really trying to save us from the agony of a wreck, and having to run to Him like an insurance agent to bail us out.

Some of us might be staring at a stop light and thinking that we hate the color red. No one really likes this light, but God uses it anyway. We’ve all been in a hurry to make things happen in our lives at one time or another. Yet somehow nothing really works out in our favor because God put a red light in front of us. No matter how hard we try to run it, that red shines in our faces to remind us that it isn’t our turn. We’re forced to stop and look to God for directions. And that’s what He wanted all along.

That yellow light can be just as frustrating as the stop light. It’s not that God said a solid “no” to our plans. He just wants us to relax and sit a while until the intersection is clear. It’s a light that screams “patience!” Ugh! But no matter how aggravating it may be, the it’s worth the wait. It means every step toward our plans is being organized while we yield to God’s timing.

After all the annoying red and yellow lights, there’s always a green light! And when we get that green light – go, baby, go! Putting our feet to the gas pedal is exhilarating when we know God is the one who gave us permission to move forward. The way is clear and the road all ours! We just have to step out in faith without hesitation.

Proverbs 3:5 &6 is one of my favorites: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” It takes a lifetime to totally learn to “acknowledge” God and trust Him with every intersection of our lives. But with Him directing the traffic, you can’t go wrong!