How Would You Choose to Respond to the Current Sea Change If You Truly Believe You Are Here “For Just Such a Time as This?”
Lisa and I were talking recently about all that’s going on in the world right now, how much is changing, and how challenging all those changes are. The phrase that keeps coming up for me is a paraphrase from the book of Esther in the Hebrew Scriptures. What I said to Lisa was that all of us who are living through these times were born “for just such a time as this.”
When I shared this with Lisa, she exclaimed, “Yes! That’s it!” Some of you may know that I was a professor of Hebrew Scriptures for many years, so when a phrase like that comes to mind, particularly with a student who was also a student of mine when I taught in the seminary, I pay attention.
When I went back to the story of Esther, I was struck by how helpful it is for us right now. It’s a wonderful story, set in the time of Persia back in the 4th Century BCE. Here are the bare bones. It is well worth reading in full, as I cannot do it justice here.
The Story of Esther
Esther is a young woman chosen from many beautiful young women in the land to be the new queen of Persia after the first queen was deposed. Her cousin, Mordecai, who had adopted her as his daughter, had cautioned her to keep her Jewish identity secret. Therefore, no one knows that she is a Jew.
Meanwhile, there are a number of political intrigues going on. In one of them, a man named Haman hatches a plot to have all the Jews killed. He then gets the king to agree. A royal edict is issued proclaiming that all the Jews will be destroyed on a particular date.
When Esther finds out from her cousin, Mordecai, she doesn’t know what to do. There is very little time to help her people, and the king doesn’t know she is a Jew.
Stepping up to the Challenge
She reaches out to Mordecai for advice, and he tells her to go to the king to intercede on behalf of her people. However, there is a rule that no one can approach the king unless he summons them. If anyone goes to the king without being called, they will be put to death, unless he holds out the golden scepter to them. To complicate things further, Esther has not been called to the king for thirty days.
Mordeecai then says this: “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Long story short, Esther steps up to the challenge, and with elaborate preparations beforehand, approaches the king. He extends his golden scepter, and she saves her people through her actions. She did indeed come into power “for just such a time as this.”
A Sea Change
So what does this story and the phrase “for just such a time as this” have to do with what’s happening today?
We are in the midst of a sea change. You can see it everywhere. So much that all of us took for granted is either gone or is in the midst of change. This is a time of great awakening, and also of a larger shift from top-down power and structures. Yes, those power structures are making a lot of noise as they crumble, and as people try to shore them up. But they’re on their way out.
But all that change and unraveling is scary. No one knows what the future holds, and that alone is enough to bring up fear. However, if you look closely, there are some really positive things happening in the midst of all this uncertainty.
A New Way of Being
Old corruption is being brought to light and weeded out. There are movements for all voices to be heard, for a shift from the old top-down ways of doing things to shared power and unity consciousness. If you look closely, you will find pockets of this all over the world. There are groups of people coming together to create these new structures.
Some spiritual traditions teach that you choose the time and space that you are born into. Others, like the one that Esther comes out of, believe that people are put into particular life situations for a reason. If you truly take that on board, no matter what is swirling around, you can have tremendous hope — and even joy.
This is what Lisa and I discussed. What we came to in our conversation is that all of us have been born and put into the places where we are “for just such a time as this.”
Each one of us who is alive and on a spiritual path today is being called to do our own inner work of transformation, so that we can contribute to this new way of being. More than that, we’re each called to the particular place and situations we find ourselves in so that we can work not only for our own healing, but for the mending of the world (in Hebrew, tikkun olam).
Lisa and I both find that enlivening and freeing. It helps us to continue to do the deep work of healing and transformation of ourselves, so that we can also help others.
There is Always Choice
You too, are part of this larger picture. You too have been called to do your personal and spiritual work of transformation for yourself, and for the particular situation in which you find yourself.
You too, are being called to have courage and to stand firm, and find your own inner power, so you can speak up where you need to, and help bring to birth the new structures that will be more life-giving for all.
Finally, you too, when you do this, will have an impact that ripples out. As Margaret Mead writes, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
How would you choose to respond to all the volatility and change that’s happening if you truly believed you are here “for just such a time as this?” Or how are you already choosing to respond?
There is always choice. You can go kicking and screaming. You can bewail the changes. You can get swept up in the fear that not knowing what’s next brings. You can get entangled in the fear mongering that is prevalent everywhere.
Or you can choose to believe that you are here “for just such a time as this.” What might that look like in your life?