Have you ever found yourself in a place that you didn’t expect to be in life with a challenge you didn’t expect to encounter? Life happens doesn’t it? Yes, I know there are proponents of “making your own destiny.” People who plan and work hard to fulfill their dreams and passions. I’ve heard many motivational phrases everything from “Attitude is everything!” to “Fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While all of these things certainly have merit – in all honesty, I’m a planner myself. I make lists, set goals and yes, I even make those resolutions every year. Often I find it helps. I do accomplish more and have realized the fulfillment of a few dreams because I planned towards them. Yet there are times when life simply happens. Those surprises in life can be good, bad or challenging. Either way, we may find ourselves wondering, “What do I do now?”
Queen Esther found herself in one of those unexpected situations. She had been orphaned as a child and raised by a cousin. She was Jewish and she was simply an ordinary person, living an ordinary life in a country where she was a foreigner. In fact, the Jewish people were in exile in Susa. She certainly didn’t plan on becoming queen, but God did. Some might say, “Wow! That’s a fairy tale story! She won a beauty contest and became queen. Now that’s the life!” But Esther didn’t seek to win, nor did she even desire it. It simply happened. It happened because God was orchestrating the events of her life and God had a purpose and a plan.
The story could have ended there. Esther became queen and I suppose, she could have lived out her days “happily ever after” as most fairy tales end, but it didn’t end there. God had other plans. One of the Kings principal advisors, Haman, talked the king into making a law to kill all the Jewish people. Mordecai got wind of it and sent a message to Esther asking her to go before the king. At first Esther said, “I can’t! I can’t go before the king unless he summons me. I may be queen, but if I go before him without him first asking for me, then I could be put to death.”
Mordecai reminds her that just because she lives in the palace does not mean that she would escape being killed as the other Jewish people would be. Then he finishes his plea with this famous statement, “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:15 Yes, “for such a time as this.” After preparation and fasting and prayer, Esther does go before the king and yes, she is able to obtain justice and mercy for her people.
God put Esther in her royal position to save her people. He led and guided her steps when she found herself in an unexpected situation and God gave her the courage to stand up for what was right, though it could have cost her life.
Are you in an unexpected situation, a place you never thought you would be? You may not be royalty as Queen Esther was, but just maybe God has allowed you to be right where you are “for such a time as this.” Is there someone or something that you can stand up for? Can you make your voice heard in the call for justice and mercy? Can you help someone who is hurting? I believe nothing is ever wasted with God. It’s tempting to wonder, fret and even complain when we are in situations that we didn’t ask for, but before you do, ask yourself this question,“God, have you placed me here for a reason? Am I here for such a time as this?” Then see what God wants you to do with this unexpected opportunity.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Father God, Esther didn’t ask to be queen and I’m sure she didn’t want to be the one to stand up for her people, yet she found herself in a royal position at the time when help for Israel was “royally” needed. As her cousin, Mordecai said, “Maybe God has put you in this place for such a time as this.” Thinking of this, I wonder if I have missed some opportunities to stand up for you because I didn’t realize that you put me in the right place at the right time. I’m sure Esther was afraid. After all, though she was queen, the king still could have had her killed. But Esther trusted you God. When I find myself in situations that I wasn’t planning on and maybe don’t even want to be in, help me to remember that you are with me and perhaps, just perhaps, you have placed me there “for such a time as this.” Lord, it’s time for your people to stand up against injustice and all sorts of evil. It’s time we once again fought for freedom – freedom for all people, freedom to love and serve one another. Freedom, not to consume or do whatever we want to, but rather to love you and serve you with all our hearts. Freedom to worship and freedom to treat others with kindness and respect regardless of whether they share the same ideas and opinions we do. Help me to stand up and be counted with other believers. Perhaps you have placed me exactly where you want me to be for such a time as this. Show me how to teach my children, to stand up for what is right and yet do so in a way that is respectful and kind. Amen
FREEDOM & JUSTICE FOR ALL
For kids – Explain justice as knowing what is right and fair and doing it. Justice is based on a genuine love for the other person and kindness.
- Start by treating ALL people with respect. You don’t have to agree with everyone or even like everyone, but even kids can treat others respectfully. They have value as a fellow human being.
- What is respect? Recognizing that others have value or worth. Showing honor especially to those who are in authority. Think of others, be polite and considerate.
- Sometimes miracles come disguised as small things and sometimes they are mind-boggling – Look for both kinds.
WHAT CAN A CHILD DO WHEN HE SEES INJUSTICE OR BULLYING HAPPENING?
- First, as parents, make sure your child knows that he/she can talk to you about anything that might make him wary or uncomfortable. He can tell you about the bully at school. Listen and support your child.
- Let your child know, it’s okay to talk with a teacher or an adult who is in charge. You are not tattling if someone is bullying.
- When bullying is happening, your child can walk away and get help or tell the bully to stop and then walk away – Your child shouldn’t put him/herself n a position to be harmed.
- If it’s a dangerous situation, scream for help.
ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH YOUR CHILD THIS WEEK:
* Share A Story: Queen Esther – Esther 1-10
Queen Esther lived in the palace with King Xerses. (Put on crown if you have one.) She loved God (Give self a hug.) and she was happy, but a very, mean man (Make a mean face.) named Haman wanted to hurt Queen Esther’s people. Haman told the king lies about the Jewish (Esther’s) people. He wanted the king to get rid of all Queen Esther’s people. The king listened to Haman and made a law.
Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, told Esther about Haman’s evil plan. He asked Esther to talk with the king. But Esther was afraid. (Make a scared face.) She knew talking with the king was the right thing to do, but what if the king was too busy? What if the king got mad at her? Esther decided she would be brave and talk to King Xerses anyway. She invited the king to a big dinner. (Say, “Yum! Yum! Yum!”)
At the dinner, the king said to Esther, “What do want Queen Esther? I will give it to you.” Esther was still afraid. (Make a scared face.) She wanted to be brave and help her people. She trusted God to help her. (Point upwards for God.) So she invited the king to another dinner. (Say, “Yum! Yum! Yum!”) Then she told the king that she wanted to save her people. She was brave and told the king everything. King Xerses listened to Esther. (Hand by ear.) He was mad (Show mad face.) that Haman wanted to hurt the queen and her people. He made a new law that saved Esther and her people.
Esther was very brave. She trusted God to help her and did the right thing even though she was afraid. Being brave doesn’t mean that we are not afraid sometimes, it means that we do the right thing anyway and trust God to help us. It means that no matter what big thing we are facing, we know that God is with us. He can help us because He is strong. You can be brave like Esther and do the right thing when you trust God to help you. He will help you do the right thing because He really loves you!
MEMORIZE: Prov. 3:5 NIrV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Trust – (Hold hands open, pull back towards you into fists.)
In the Lord – (Make and L with your hand. Touch shoulder then hip.)
With all – (Hands out wide to sides.)
Your heart – (Place hands on heart.)
KNOW: Esther depended on God and did the right thing.
TALK ABOUT: What does it mean to be brave?
ASK: Who’ll help you? God will help me.
AND DO: I can be brave and trust God.
FUN THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR CHILD:
* Put on paper crowns and act like royalty for a day.
* Do something brave such as pray with a friend or get back on your bike after you fall .
Help me to be brave and make good choices. I know that you are strong and will be with me wherever I go. Thank you for loving and helping me. Amen
Encourage your child to do what he/she can for