“You can’t do this. You are not prepared for this kind of work.”
“You don’t have what it takes to fulfill this role, so don’t accept it.”
“There are others who can do the job better; let them do it.”
I have a confession to make: I hide behind the veil of my flaws to excuse myself from doing the tasks that God calls me to do. I struggle with doubts and fears. I wrestle with many limitations and shortcomings.
But the book of Esther pointed me to a truth I have not seen before.
Raised by her cousin, Mordecai, Esther was an orphaned girl who lost both her parents at a really young age—nothing short of a tragic weight to carry as a child. She must have not been proud of it and I doubt she flaunted that information to anyone who came close to getting to know her intimately.
How weak she must have felt and unfit to do many things because of her lack of a “real” family. (I know I had felt inadequate not having my father while growing up.) But her brokenness makes her pliable in God’s hands. It created room for Him to do something phenomenal because she didn’t have it all together. He chose to use Esther not in spite of her history but because of it (as American author Beth Moore says in her study guide on Esther). He chose her because in her apparent inadequacy His power was unmistakable.
I had always presumed that our strengths are what God uses to bring about His will for our lives. And while that is true, it’s not the whole story. God operates through our weaknesses as much as He operates through our strengths. Esther’s story demonstrates that.
I suspect that she didn’t see herself as having the edge to compete against all the other girls in the harem and win the king’s heart. I would even venture to say that she probably found herself in an unfavorable position because of who she was—an orphaned Jew in a foreign land—with little or nothing to boast about her background. I doubt becoming queen ever crossed her mind. Yes, she was lovely; but Queen Vashti, the queen she replaced, was lovelier.
In Esther: It’s Tough Being A Woman, Beth Moore wrote: “One reason some scholars surmise that Vashti’s beauty may have even exceeded Esther’s is that, in a genre where words mean the world, Vashti was twice attributed with beauty and Esther, once.”
Yet the king noticed Esther; he chose her to be his new queen. The king could have so easily chosen a different girl (and he had many choices) whose beauty surpassed that of his previous queen but instead he favored Esther.
Thus begins one of the well-known rags-to-riches stories in the Bible where a seemingly disadvantaged girl becomes the one who rescues her people from total annihilation.
Who would have thought of this unlikely hero to come out of the debris of her painful history? God did. For He can use ordinary individual to accomplish His saving plan.
He had chosen her for such a time, and it was glorious. Esther taught me this: my weaknesses are not reasons for God to not call my name to fulfill a role in His work. They are avenues for Him to create something only He can—beauty out of the ashes.