Every time I read the story of Esther, I read it with fresh eyes. When I was a girl, I read it as a Cinderella story. I saw an orphan girl getting swept off her feet in a palace and ignored the forced nature of her tale. When I was older, I saw it as a story of privilege. A queen who knew her position would save her not wanting to risk that position for the lives of others until she was called out.
But this time, I read it as a story of reliance on God.
Esther had to learn from a young age who her provider was. We know from the text that she was beautiful but also very wise.
Not only was she considered beautiful enough to be rounded up and hauled to the palace for the king, but she was wise and discerning enough to earn favor with the leaders of the harem and seek their advice.
And when she realized that she needed to go before the king, she had the wisdom and discern to know what she needed. She needed to rely completely on God for favor in the king’s eyes.
So she called all of the people to join her in fasting and prayer for three days and nights.
She threw herself at the mercy of her God and knew that she needed to rely on His strength the same way she relied on food or water to get her through her days.
He had put her there for that terrible, burdensome moment.
Esther did not yet know that there was a great victory and honor given to her by generations to come. All she knew was what her limited eyes could see, the overwhelming odds she was up again.
And so she fasted and prayed and relied on a strength that was not her own.
She relied on her community to join her in seeking God’s protection and provision and then stepped into the halls of the king, trusting that the God who had brought her into the palace walls would lead her.
A woman of God relies on Him as Esther did.
Esther’s battles weren’t the same types of battles as David’s battles, but her reliance on God was the same.
Each step down that hall was a step of faith. A choice and a prayer that no matter the outcome, she was trusting in her Maker.
And a lesson for me that no matter my word, no matter my calling, each and every day is an opportunity to rely afresh on the mercy of God to strengthen me for the tasks in the day ahead.
It’s been a hard week.
The kind of week where I feel like I’m fluctuating between wondering if I’m being filmed for some elaborate practical joke and trying with everything in me to push down the lump swelling in my throat because it just feels like more than my arms can possibly keep carrying.
I believe that God was there to sustain Esther in the big, monumental, genocide-ending task before her, but do I trust Him to be there for me on Wednesdays in Michigan?
Do I offer up my moments as steps of faith and offerings of prayer despite my uncertainty and insecurity?
Or do I cower and crumble, believing the lies of the enemy that it is just too much for me?
Esther’s story gives me courage to reach out past my insecurities, past the legitimate fears of what has been and could be again, and to rely on my Maker.
Her story reminds me that some of the greatest tools in a woman of God’s arsenal are prayer and fasting.
That these battles are not won through earthly means, but by the power of our God.
Most of us won’t be tasked with risking our lives to prevent genocide, but our battles will still be won the same way Esther’s battle and the battles other women of God have faced, were won. Whether the battle is in the political sector, fighting for the rights of others, for our marriage, within our churches, or a battle over the anxiety in our own hearts, God is faithful when we rely on Him.
The outcome isn’t always the one we were looking for, sometimes the enemy seems to be prevailing, but each and every step no matter the battle, is secure in His hands.
He is the one who loves us and each of His people more than we could comprehend and when we humble ourselves before Him and rely solely on His power, we can have peace that our souls are safe in His care.