Have you ever entered into a situation or position joyfully only later to say, “This is not what I signed up for!”? My guess is most have had that experience at some time in life. Being a preacher, I can say that I have known many preachers who talked to search committees, took a new church position joyfully, only later to get to the church and say, “This is not what I signed up for!” The church had many issues that the committee didn’t share and so they were blindsided by the difficulties. People have taken what they thought was their dream job at their dream company only to get there and realize there was turmoil in the office and the company had issues people on the outside were not aware of and they say, “This is not what I signed up for!” Sometimes people marry into families not realizing all the relational conflict and they say, “This is not what I signed up for!” Many other examples could be shared, but I believe you get the picture.
In the book of Esther, we read the story of a Jewish woman named Esther. During her life many of the Jews still lived in exile though some were beginning to return to their homeland. Esther lived in Persia during the reign of King Xerxes. Her story begins when Xerxes is looking for a new queen because Queen Vashti had refused to obey his orders. After a period of evaluation of all available women in the kingdom, Xerxes chose Esther to be his queen. For Esther, she most likely thought that her position would be one of prestige and ease. As long as she went along with the king, all would be great and she would live in luxury. However, it wasn’t long before Esther had her, “I didn’t sign up for this” moment. Through a plot by a man named Haman, the King made a decree that condemned all the Jews to death. The king made this edict not being aware that his own queen was a Jew. She was then faced with a choice: keep quiet about her heritage and hope she was spared the fate of the rest of her people OR make her heritage known in hopes of changing the king’s mind. I think it is safe to say that Esther was reluctant to go to the king. In fact, even she was forbidden to go before the king without his summons. To do so would mean death. She hadn’t signed up for this. But then her cousin Mordecai made one of the more well-known statements in all the Bible. One quoted even by secular people. A statement that is something we all need to consider in our “I didn’t sign up for this moments.” What did Mordecai say?
Esther 4:14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
For such a time as this. Though Mordecai never mentions God, he clearly believes that God will deliver his people one way or another. He happens to believe that God had placed Esther where she was for the very purpose of being in the position to stand up for the Jewish people. The real question was whether Esther would take advantage of the opportunity God had given her. For those who know her story, you know she does and God used her to save the Jews from Xerxes’ original edict. She found that her “I didn’t sign up for this” moment was actually an opportunity for God to use her. If you are in one of those moments, ask God what he wants from you. Maybe you will discover that what you signed up for was something much greater than you could have ever imagined. Also, the next time you have one of those “I didn’t sign up for this” moments, instead of complaining, why not ask God what he is wanting to use you to accomplish. Maybe his will is different than what you thought. Most likely God will have you where you are “for just a time as this.” Whatever the “this” might be.