After my husband's appointment as the President of the South Indian Union, I received many letters containing the words, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this," (Esther 4:14) with a request either before or after the quote. When 1 visited the field, I heard the same words. I began to think of these words. The more I thought, the more I was compelled to read the source—the book of Esther.
As I read the story a couple of times, I saw many valuable lessons that I, as a shepherdess and an administrator's wife, could draw from two of the three prominent women mentioned there—one as savior, the other destroyer; one woman approaching her husband for help, the other advising or giving instruction to her husband to destroy.
The issue, as we all know, was the decree to kill all the Jews, withholding none. Haman had initiated the decree. It was a matter of life and death for the Jews. In this grave situation, Mordecai sent a message to Esther. "Who knovveth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" This triggered Esther's inner soul and she acted immediately to find a solution.
We, shepherdess' and administrators' wives, may not face the same crisis, yet you will agree with me if I say we do face similar unpleasant and difficult situations such as character assassinations, false rumors, anonymous letters, power politics, and cold wars within the church. As a woman, can you handle this? You can if you follow the steps Esther took.
Esther presented the problem before God. First she fasted and prayed and asked the people to do the same. With Esther it was not, "You fast and pray, I feast and enjoy" but rather, "Let us fast and pray together." God says, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you" (Ps. 50:15, NIV). That is what Esther did.
Faith and confidence in God
Esther had so much faith and confidence in God, the Father, that He worked out every detail of the plan to save His children. God says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). Trust in God's promises to save you from a difficult situation. Do not run to people for support and guidance. God says, It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (Ps. 118:8).
Willingness to sacrifice
Esther risked her life for a good cause, to save her people from death. Since no one in the palace knew who she was, she could have ignored the plea or turned a deaf ear to Mordecai. Not Esther. She said, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Are you willing to sacrifice your time, money, and comforts for a good and noble cause?
A few months ago I happened to meet two women in a conference office. While my husband was in the committee, I sat in the lobby trying to read a book. The two ladies were pouring out their problems to the men there. It was nearly 8 o'clock at night. From the little bit of conversation I overheard, I understood that they had come to see my husband and were told that he would not see them and they were asked to go away. They had traveled a long way just to meet my husband so he could help solve this problem. I wanted to tell them that he would see them no matter how late irsvas. Yet I remained silent because I didn't want them to know that I partially overheard their problems. When I got up from the seat, one of the men listening to the women came and said, "You do not know me, but I know you. You are the Union President's wife. You must help these two women." So saying, he called the two women and asked them to tell about their problem.
When they finished, like a good administrator's wife, I said, "I am so sorry this has happened to you, but I cannot interfere in the administration to do anything for you."
The man said, "You are wrong. You can and you must help such women. If you don't, who will? If you can't, who can?"
Being an administrator's wife is not easy. People will come to you with lots of requests. You will also be criticized and accused falsely. They might even say you are ruling your husband. That should not bother you. You have to take a risk to help the helpless.
Politely I told the ladies to wait to see my husband. Sadly, they said, "We were told that the pastor will not see us because it is late, and we were asked to go away." I assured them that my husband never sends anyone away without seeing them, no matter how late it is. They were able to meet with him, and they went away satisfied.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
In spite of the fact that Esther could have called and confronted Haman, she did not. She was patient and let the king act. Do you exercise patience under adverse circumstances or let out your anger like fire crackers? Scripture says, "If, when you do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God" (1 Peter 2:20). "Tribulation worketh patience" (Rom. 5:3). Remember, all things—whether it be power politics, cold war, false accusation, criticism--all things work together for good as long as you love God (Rom. 8:28). This verse gives me a lot of strength.
TactfulnessEsther did not pour out her heart as soon as she was accepted in the presence of the king. She prepared the king's mind to listen to her plea. "Be ... wise as serpents" (Matt. 10.16).
Esther defended her cause rather than accuse the adversary. "Let my life be given me . . . and my people" (Esther 7:3). She pleaded for her life and the life of her people. She did not use the opportunity to destroy the enemy and his people. Neither did she suggest what action should be taken against him. Could it be because of his position at the king's court?
Esther did not demand justice. She said, "If I find favor in thy sight . . . if it pleases the king" (Ibid). Paul admonishes the wives to submit themselves to their husbands (Eph. 5:24).
Not only did she save the lives of her people but she also protected her husband from unknowingly doing wrong.
The second prominent woman I find in the book of Esther is Zeresh, the wife of Haman. What sort of a woman was she—domineering, foolish, cruel? In spite of the fact that she was a party to the evil devisings of Haman, we can still draw valuable lessons which would pi event us from doing what she did.
To Haman, Mordecai was a "thorn in the flesh." He couldn't stand the sight of Mordecai and felt something must be done. When he came home with a heavy heart and shared his feelings, his wife Zeresh, along with his friends, advised him to make a gallows and hang Mordecai.
When your husband comes home with a problem, a hurt, or his spirit is low and he is disappointed about something, speak words of comfort and encouragement and help him calm down. Do not aggravate and add fuel to the fire. Remember, God is always in control. The Lord said, "Vengeance is mine" (Rom. 12:19).
Help overcome jealousy and hatred
Do not instigate to do evil. Help in all possible ways to overcome evil with good. Pray especially for those whom you think are thorns in the flesh. This will help you understand them and overcome jealousy and hatred. Whatever the case maybe and whosoever it may be, it would definitely do a world of good if you pray for them. "Envy (is) rottenness to the bones" (Prov. 14:30).
Do not expect respect and honor
You become disappointed only when you expect something and do not get it. All that you need is favor from God. God will lift you up if you are faithful.
Zeresh was cruel. She gave wrong advice to her husband, which caused his life, their sons' lives, and many others lives to be lost. The greatest loss was the loss of her husband. What a tragedy.
What you sow, you reap. As someone has said, "You pass this way but once. Therefore, do all the good you can while you are here."