For many of us, university is the first real chance to decide how we want to live our lives.
As young adults, we are suddenly presented with opportunities to make decisions by ourselves. What modules should I take? Which internship should I go for? Which CCA should I join?
And as Christians, we know that our decisions should bring us towards fulfilling God’s calling and purposes for us. However, many of us get caught up in life, and find ourselves swaying from the path God has called us to.
Before I began university, I told God that I would dedicate my time in university to serving Him and advancing His Kingdom in my school.
Because God had given me a vision of revival before university, I started school as this hopeful and enthusiastic Christian ready to proclaim the Gospel. But when I participated in my hall’s FOC (Freshman Orientation Camp) and captured a glimpse of life there, I was culture-shocked. I felt torn between my faith and hall life.
I identified as a Christian but found myself swaying from time to time. For 2 years of my university life, I was an active hall resident. I received favour and affirmation constantly, I also held several leadership positions. I was enjoying the recognition and affirmation so much that I completely forgot about my promise to God and the vision that had captured my heart before university.
I even found myself drifting from my spiritual community, losing the most stable source of support and godly guidance I had. But the affirmation I derived from hall life continued to increase as I poured everything I had into it.
I felt like an Esther who had ignored the state of her people, who continued to enjoy the luxuries given to her.
At the end of my 2 years, I attended my church’s camp for university students.
My pastor shared the story of Esther: a young woman who was put into an influential position “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Esther risked everything she had – even her life – to save her people.
And what about me? I felt like an Esther who had ignored the state of her people, who continued to enjoy the luxuries given to her. In that camp, God reminded me of the commitment that I made to Him.
He set a new fire in my heart for the harvest field of my campus.
There are many things we can learn from Esther. First, Esther was aware of God’s plan for her.
“For 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 the royal palace for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)
God granted her divine favour and orchestrated her circumstances so that she would be put in a high position. That meant Esther could use her position to advocate for her people.
Many of us are in influential positions because of divine favour and empowerment from God. It is especially important for us to recognise that, and realise why God put us there.
Second, Esther prayed and fasted together with a godly community.
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do.” (Esther 4:16a)
Many of us have underestimated and neglected this discipline of praying and fasting. However, there are many examples of how God moved after the people prayed and fasted. Doing it together with a godly community helps to build faith and unity. By praying and fasting, Esther and the Jews were opening doors for God to move.
Lastly, Esther stood with courage: “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16b)
This was the true mark of Esther’s love for God and her people. She was willing to speak against her king to save her people – even willing to die.
I know many Christians out there who are struggling with what they want and what God wants.
They struggle with what makes them happy and what makes God happy. Many of us are in influential positions because of divine favour and empowerment from God. It is especially important for us to recognise that, and realise why God put us there.
Life is not about us. As Christians we will have to run against the wind, speak out against popular opinions and be in a positions of discomfort. But we must never sit back and relax while our generation drifts further and further away from God.
I personally do not know what God has in store for you, but what I do know is that affirmation that comes from God is infinitely better than the world’s affirmation.
I know that hearing “good and faithful servant” from the One who created me, is far more rewarding than hearing a worldly compliment. God will not shortchange us when we choose to glorify and honour Him.
This is a call to all the Esthers out there who have been placed in a position for a time such as this – to rise up and declare God’s love over our generation.