"For Such A Time As This"
As I think about the recent events in Laguna Woods, CA, Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, TX, I cannot help but consider the hard realities and easy responses that come with such tragedies. It is hard to witness such violence. It is hard to make sense of it. It is hard to see the excruciating pain of others, and wrestle with the reality that what happened to them could happen to us. As a result, it is easy to get angry about what could have been done differently to prevent such tragedies. It is easy to feel afraid about the possibility of this happening in our church, at one of our grocery stores, or in one of our schools. It easy to become cynical and judgmental, placing blame in a number of places—people, policies, politicians, and parties. It is also easy to direct our fear, confusion, and sadness toward God, asking: Why would you allow something like this to happen?
As I was considering these realities and wrestling with these emotions one morning while driving to the office, I heard a familiar song on the radio. It was a song by Matthew West that I had not heard in a while. In the midst of my sadness, anger, fear, judgment, and blame, it was a song I needed to hear. Through these words, I felt God speaking directly to me. Maybe you will too. Below is a portion of West’s song “Do Something.”
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now, thought
How'd we ever get so far down, and
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
He said, "I did, yeah, I created you" (now listen)
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something, yeah
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh, it's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
In the Book of Esther, after having heard the news that the Jews were facing the tragedy of annihilation at the hands of the Persian King, Ahasuerus, Mordecai tore his clothes and began to grieve. He too was filled with sadness, anger, and fear. In response, he chose to do something. He devised a plan wherein his niece, Queen Esther, would stand before King Ahasuerus, show him evidence of the plot against her people and ask him to intervene. Fearing her own safety, Esther pleaded with Mordecai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that, if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law: to be put to death (Esther 4:11a).” In response to Esther, Mordecai replied: “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this (4:14b).” Through Mordecai’s insistence that Esther do something in response to the tragedy that awaited the Jews, Esther found the strength to stand before the Persian king, reveal the plot against her people and plead for his help. As a result, the king listened to Esther, seized Haman, and the nation of Israel was saved.
Though most of us are not royalty, or have the ability to stand before royalty, we all have a sphere of influence. Wherever we find ourselves during this season of our lives, “Who knows? Perhaps you [and I] have come to [this place] for such a time as this.” In the wake of these recent tragedies, how can God use us? What is something that we can do to bring hope, healing, and comfort in the lives of the people around us? May we follow in the footsteps of Esther, and find our courage to go and do likewise.