“Go and gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
This verse remains one of the top reasons that our girl, Esther, is the honeybadger (Also, I’m 98% sure that I want to get the phrase “if I perish, I perish” tattooed on my left foot). I so desperately want Esther’s boldness, for even Paul speaks of the Gospel being that which must be spoken in a bold manner. In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul asks the Ephesian church to pray for him, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly, to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Here’s the thing: of all people in the Scriptures, Paul is the last person I would think of that would need more boldness. I mean, this guy was the poster child for boldness, and yet here he is asking the church to pray for him to be bold. In this request for prayer I think we can understand that boldness in proclaiming the Gospel is not something we instinctively own. Right now, I’m studying the book of James, and as I was listening to Beth Moore speak on this topic I found a little bit of myself in her confession, “I’m too worried about things being awkward–that scares me more than any kind of suffering.”
Esther, while she knew what it would cost her (her loss of status, position, death of her people, or even her own death), felt Paul’s statement to the Philippian church,
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ[…]that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”
As I look over my own new life, the new place I live, the new people I’m meeting and now call friend, I’m having to sift over and question everything in which I previously found identity in the States. With the stripping of all that was previously comfortable, normal, or familiar, I’m having to ask myself, “Am I willing to be simply defined solely by Christ, with all my value, purpose, and identity found in Him, and not my experiences, knowledge, qualifications, skills, etc? Do I truly count them as nothing in light of the glory of Christ? Will I let my boldness in the message I have come from Him or what little bit of boldness I can muster up?”
Convictingly tucked into these questions remains the truth that I so often gloss over in my independence and competency: that any authority, words, or message that I have comes from HIM. It’s not my experiences in ministry, my knowledge, my accomplishments, my skills that bring anything to the table: it’s by His authority that I live and move and breathe, and proclaim the Gospel.
Esther felt the needed boldness in proclaiming the purposes of her Savior, and in doing so, she reveals yet another characteristic of biblical womanhood. It is her action, her moving forward in the (sometimes scary) plans of God that shows a need for us as women, to abandon all but the sweet precious plans of our Savior, for in doing so, we understand the good purposes of Jesus Christ, the One who created us and therefore gives us genuine identity, purpose, and value. In this, it is my prayer that we would be moved into a boldness that is motivated and propelled forward by the authority that we have in Jesus.
In this season of life, it seems I have lots of friends who are in the same position as I am living overseas in obedience to the Lord, so for this reason, as they read this blog I hope it would be an encouragement to each of you precious sisters as it has been to me: You speak on no authority that is your own. It is only Jesus. The message of hope, forgiveness, repentance, mercy and grace that you bring comes with absolutely no authority that you may call your own. It rests solely in the person and completed work of Our Savior, who alone brings everything to the table. It is not your job to produce results, but to obediently abandon anything that would stand in the way of your own personal obedience to Him.
And if you perish, you perish, for nothing is as weighty, important, or precious as the message we carry.