When I was twelve years of age, I took on a summer responsibility of managing the houses of vacationing neighbors. It was their idea, not mine. Three families who lived side by side were planning to be out of town for a month. They each needed someone to cut their lawns, feed their pets, water their gardens. In sum they wanted to make sure their properties were cared for. They invited me to take the job. More accurately, they asked my dad to ask me to take the job. He didn’t ask me. He told me. I didn’t want to do it. After all, I had Little League games to play, a bike to ride, and uh, uh, uh… Those were the only two reasons I could muster. They got me no traction.
Before I knew it, I was sitting down with each of the families, making a list of the tasks I needed to manage on their behalf. I recall walking home from their houses feeling something I’d never felt before. I felt overwhelmed. Forgive me if my weight seems nothing compared to yours. Keep in mind, I was only twelve years old. To cut grass, feed pets, and make sure doors were locked in three households for a month? I mean, one family had a goldfish. I’d never fed a goldfish. I envisioned finding the little fellow floating on his side, dead from being under- or overfed.
But there was no getting out now.
On the first day of my unsolicited career, I hurried home from baseball practice, jumped on my bike, and pedaled like crazy to the residences. Three lawns needed mowing. Three houses needed attending. Three sets of locks needed checking. Three families had pets who needed feeding. Three gardens needed watering. This was too much for any human being to handle.
Just when I was about to learn the meaning of the phrase “panic attack,” I saw it. Parked in front of the middle house. White, wide, and fresh off a day in the oil field.
My dad’s pickup.
He was there. The garage door was open, and the lawn mower was on the driveway.
“You start cutting the grass,” he said. “I’ll water the plants.”
With those words everything changed. The clouds lifted. I could face the task because my father was facing it with me.
Your Father wants to do the same with you.
Seasons of struggle can be a treacherous time for the human heart. We are sitting ducks for despair and defeat. We turn away from others, turn our backs on God, and turn into fearful, cynical souls. Despair can be a dangerous season. But it can also be a developing time, a time in which we learn to trust God, to lean into his Word and rely on his ways.
The choice is ours. To help us choose the wise path, God gave the wonderfully wild story of Esther. Before we wrap a ribbon on our discussion of the story, let’s revisit the hinge passage in the book. Mordecai has stripped himself of his Persian disguise. For fear of the death of his people, he is the picture of anguish. He wears sackcloth and ashes. He cries out to Esther to intervene.
She resists. Dare she risk her life and make an appeal to the fickle Xerxes? Mordecai’s reply is surprisingly sober.
If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? — Esther 4:14
Mordecai is not engaging in empty rah-rah rhetoric. He is deadly earnest. His message is a one-two punch: a call to faith and a call to action.
The call to faith: Relief will come! Did Mordecai know how the relief would come? Could he provide the game plan for deliverance? I see no reason to say he did. I can only assume that he stood on God’s Word. He remembered God’s promised deliverance of the Jewish people.
God would . . .
- be their God, and they would be His people (Jeremiah 32:36-38).
- gather them from all the countries (Ezekiel 37:24-28).
- send a king through them and to them to establish an eternal kingdom (2 Samuel 7:16; Matthew 1:21).
He recalled the covenants. Confusion? Yes. Crisis? No doubt. But above them all was the covenant-keeping character of God.
Relief will come! This was Mordecai’s message for Esther. And this is God’s message for you.
Feeling undone by the struggle? Then let God unleash the power within you to face it. Shift your focus away from the challenges at hand, and ponder the power of your almighty God.
Do you recall the question He asked Abraham and Sarah? He promised them a son, though both were past child-bearing age. Sarah laughed at the thought of bouncing their newborn on her knee.
Then the Lord said to Abraham,
Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
— Genesis 18:13-14 NCV
That is what we need to ask. Is anything too hard for God? Does He ever give up because the problem is too great? Does He ever throw up His hands and quit? Does He ever shake His head at the sound of a prayer request and say, “I can’t handle that problem”?
The answer, the welcome answer, is, “No, nothing is too hard for the Lord.”
You must start here. Don’t measure the height of the mountain. Ponder the power of the One who made it.
Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.
Your problem is not that your problem is so big but that your view of God is too small.
Accept the invitation of the psalmist:
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. — Psalm 34:3 KJV
Our tendency is to magnify our fears. We place a magnifying glass on the diagnosis, the disease, or debt.
Stop that! Meditate less on the mess and more on the Master. Less on the problems and more on his power.
Sometimes I wonder if the church has forgotten the vastness of God. Visit a congregation on a given Sunday, and you’ll likely find a group of people sitting in comfortable chairs, hearing a comforting message about a God who keeps us comfortable.
Do we know Him before whom we gather? Do we understand that demons fear and flee at the sound of His name? That angels have been singing “holy, holy, holy” since creation and still haven’t sung it often enough? That a glimpse of God’s glory caused Isaiah, the prophet, to beg for grace and Moses, the patriarch, to duck under the protection of a rock? Do we comprehend His grandeur? His glory, fire, and power? If we did, we’d likely enter the sanctuary wearing helmets and body armor.
Are we suffering from a loss of awe? And if we are, what are the consequences?
Here’s what I think. A wimpy God makes for a wimpy heart. But a great God makes for a solid saint. Let Him be big.
Excerpted with permission from You Were Made for This Moment by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.
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Is life overwhelming you right now? Do your circumstances feel out of control and too big for you to deal with? God the Father is right with you. He will help you. And maybe this is the moment you were made for! Have you thought about that? God isn’t small. Remember who He is. Let God be big! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily