If you had to choose one person to save a nation, whom would you choose? You would probably pick someone who was a diplomat or who had a lot of experience in the military, perhaps even a military strategist. You would likely want to select a very educated person. You would probably not pick a young woman who’d just won a beauty contest! But that is exactly who God chose to save the nation of the Jews in Persia at a critical time in Jewish history. You probably know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about Queen Esther — and I like to call her “the queen that surrendered”!
When Esther was brought to the palace to be considered for selection as the next queen, she lost her name, her culture, her family, her language — her identity. She was a Jew, but she had to pose as a Persian. That’s a pretty big price for a young girl to pay to do God’s will. But at the end of the “beauty contest,” she was chosen to become the new queen and was inserted into the king’s court — the highest place in the Persian empire.
The Bible says that the king loved her so much that he even declared a special day in her honor. It was called the Feast of Esther. On that day, everyone gave gifts to each other (see Esther 2:18). I know this sounds like a really great story — almost like the fairy tale Cinderella. But in this great story, something happened that was very important to the entire Jewish nation.
A wicked man by the name of Haman decided he was so powerful that when he walked down the street, everyone should bow before him. The uncle who raised Esther, Mordecai, refused to bow before Haman as he walked by. Esther 3:5 says, “When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.” In fact, Haman was so filled with himself that he wanted to kill all the Jews. Wicked Haman then devised an evil plan and made a bargain with the king to kill all the Jews because of the one Jew (Mordecai), who would not bow before him.
Mordecai sent word to Esther, asking her to make supplication to the king to save the Jewish people. Esther responded, in effect, “The king has not called me in 30 days, and no one can just go before the king without being invited. To do so is an offense worthy of instant death. The only exception is if the king has favor on the one who enters uninvited, and he holds out his golden scepter. Then and only then can that person’s life be saved” (see Esther 4:11).
Eventually, Esther pushed her fears aside and urged Mordecai to gather all the Jews in the city to fast for three days. She and her maidens would also fast. Esther said, “‘…[Then] I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish’” (Esther 4:16).
Esther had gone through all of this — giving up her name, her culture, her family, and her language — and now she was going to risk her very life to save her nation!
In our own lives, God never asks us to surrender something valuable without His giving back much more than He ever asked from us. He asked Esther to be willing to give up her life, but in return He would give her a nation.
Esther is such a beautiful example for women of all ages everywhere. But what made her so beautiful? Yes, she had all the clothes and jewelry and was “pampered.” But we don’t remember Esther for what she had or held on to. We remember her for what she was willing to let go of — and she was willing to give up her very life. That is true beauty!
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Dear friend, sometimes for us to take hold of the next assignment that God has for us, we have to let go of — surrender — what is comfortable and familiar and be willing to say yes to something that may be unknown. Esther was comfortable in her familiar position in a kingdom. But God wanted to give her a nation!
The word “surrender” has tones of death attached to its meaning — death to our will, death to our plans, and, like many of the saints who have gone before us, death to our flesh. But for Christians, after death, there is always a resurrection. Even after the “death” of self — our own will and way — God will bring a resurrection of something new.
Is it possible that God wants you to let go of something so He can bring something brand new into your life? Many saints who have gone before us chose the way of surrender. They let go of their own will and plans, and they surrendered their plans into the hands of our Father. And just like Esther, God gave back to them much more than they ever surrendered.
Is God talking to you about something that He wants you to give up so He can give you something brand new? I encourage you to do all you can to let go of whatever it is you’re holding on to that you know God wants. Surrender it so He can give you something brand new and much better in its place.
Thank you for spending time with me. If you have any prayer needs, please let us know. We are here to pray for you. Just call us at 1-800-742-5593 or send us your prayer request at renner.org/request prayer. We’ll gladly put our faith together with yours to help you let go so you can receive something greater.
We are moving forward together,