I’m speaking at Morning Break today from the book, I Love Being a Woman by Patsy Clairmont. If you are going to be there in person – stop reading! (sorry – it’s kinda long…) Wish me luck!
I think we can all agree that words can be powerful. Christina Aguilera sings, “I am beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down” but we know, they do! A misunderstood comment can damage a relationship; the words “I’m sorry” can sometimes repair it. An inappropriate comment or joke can leave a “bad taste in your mouth”. Even the Bible talks about words – a “gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1), or “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:15b). God spoke to create the world; Jesus spoke to teach, to heal, to cast out demons. Words are powerful.
Today I’m going to talk about a little word – “yes” – it can be powerful all on its own…but when it is said in response to God’s call, its power grows exponentially.
Queen Vashti put her crown and her life in jeopardy when she refused the king’s command to come to the palace and show off her beauty, au naturel, before his drunk guests. She kept her head and her dignity, but not her crown. And so a national beauty pageant was held to find a young, beautiful virgin (shocking!) to replace her as queen. Esther, a young Jewish girl, was among the finalists. Her uncle and guardian, Mordecai, warned her not to reveal that she was Jewish. After 52 weeks of spa living, with 7 maids at her command, the king fell in love with her (or lust) and in time, he made Esther his queen.
The plot thickens. Haman was a high-ranking official who hated Mordecai because Mordecai had refused to bow down to him. He was so proud and self-absorbed, that he devised an evil scheme to annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom. Haman convinced the king to sign an irreversible law that the citizens of the kingdom could kill all the Jews on a set date. Mordecai heard the law, and sent a message to Esther that she must plead the peoples’ cause before the king. Problem: no one could enter the king’s presence without an invitation. If she went, and he did not extend his golden scepter to her, she would be killed immediately. And Esther had not been invited in 30 days.
Esther had been raised as Modecai’s daughter after her parents’ death, in a culture that did not value girls. When she was in the “spa” (or harem), Mordecai positioned himself outside the gate so he could inquire after her. Obviously he loved her very much. Still, it took awhile to nudge her from her hesitancy to her knees. He wrote: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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 your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
Esther fasted and prayed, along with Mordecai and her maids, for 3 days…before she said “yes”. She risked her life to approach the king, and he accepted her. At this point, I would have vomited the whole story right there…but Esther chose to invite him and Haman to dinner instead. He was pleased after the first dinner, so she invited them to dinner again. After the second dinner, the king was pleased, so she made her petition – that he spare her life and the life of her people. To make the story short: when he heard what had happened, he had Haman executed and his estate seized and given to Esther. And another law was passed so that the Jews could defend themselves against any who would harm them. Esther and her people were saved!
We can be like Esther:
Maybe Esther once thought, “God isn’t going to call me to do anything important”…
God calls each of us to say “yes” to Him every day. You may sense God is calling you to something big or scary, like accepting a leadership position or standing before a king. Or it could be something small and easy, like speaking words of love to a friend. God doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him. God can choose to use or to raise someone else up, but instead He chooses to involve you in His divine plans, every day. We are always offered the choice to say “yes” or “no”… But when we say yes, this kind of obedience invites us to embrace a bigger picture of our life. When you see everyday situations through God’s perspective, you come to realize that every situation, every person who crosses your path, every encounter with God is a divine appointment. Each day counts, every action, every reaction, every word. God loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things in and through them. But who knows but that you have come to a person or a situation for such a time as this?
Maybe Esther thought: “I’m not equipped for the job”…
Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “I am a wife and busy mom of five who can often be found rushing from one carpool to the next. My to-do list rarely gets fully accomplished. My emotions have been known to run wild, and my patience can easily run thin. I get pushed to the limit by everyday aggravations, such as a summer’s worth of pictures getting erased from my digital camera by a child who wasn’t even supposed to be handling the camera…and some important paperwork that should be in a file has mysteriously sprouted wings and flown the coop! Can you relate? Great! You are a woman perfectly equipped to say yes to God. Notice that I did not say you are a perfect woman. But if you are in the thick of living with all that life throws at you and you simply whisper yes, you are equipped”.
Maybe Esther thought: “I don’t know how to do this”…
Before Esther said “yes” and went before the king, she went before The King, in prayer and fasting. She trusted the King of the Universe to show her – when to go, when to be still, when to speak, and what to say. She trusted God even when she couldn’t understand why He required her to act in this way. God is always trustworthy. We can also enter His presence any time and without fear, because He is always ready to accept us. In fact, our King loves to dine with us.
When the time came, Esther approached the throne boldly. She spoke clearly and eloquently. Her well-chosen words saved a nation. Bur first, she said “yes” to God.
Now before you start saying “yes” to everything, spend time in prayer with the King. Keep in mind that saying “Yes” to God sometimes means saying “no” to someone or something else – it might even be a great opportunity, a ministry, or a chance to shine in the limelight. God may agree, “This is good, but I know what is better and what is best for you. Say yes to me instead. You won’t be disappointed”.
Women who say yes to God will see life and experience love like no other. You will sense God’s presence all around you, all through your day. Instead of going through the motions, you will pursue adventures of moment-by-moment divine lessons and appointments that God has planned for you. You will see God, hear from Him, and be filled by His peace and joy.
When we are tempted to say “I am not…”, God says “I AM. Say yes to me”. Yes is a powerful word.
I Love Being a Woman by Patsy Clairmont
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst