By Sara Chance
Sometimes I fall into the thinking that Bible heroes of faith never had a moment’s doubt. Or maybe there was a moment, but it passed quickly.
Like Noah. In Genesis 6:22, it says, “Noah did everything, just as God commanded him,” after God told him the specifics of building the ark. So we don’t know if, while God was telling him this, Noah might have been thinking, “Um, are you sure about this? It’s kind of massive, and it’s going to take forever.” If it had been me, I am quite sure thoughts like those and more would have passed through my mind.
Then there’s how long he was cooped up in the ark with his family. I always knew it rained for 40 days and nights, but they were in there a lot longer than that. We know Noah was 600 when the flood began, and he didn’t get off the boat until he was 601. In Genesis 7:24, it tells us, “The waters flooded the earth for one hundred and fifty days,” but they were on the ark longer than that because then they had to wait for the waters to go down. Again, we don’t know what Noah was thinking, but don’t you wonder if he was crying out to God, asking, “Do you remember me and my family? Will you stop this flood?” It says in 8:1, “But God remembered Noah…and the waters receded.”
Then there’s Esther. She is raised up as the new queen. King Xerxes doesn’t know she’s a Jew. Haman, irritated because Esther’s cousin Mordecai won’t bow down to him, gets Xerxes’ permission to kill all the Jews. Mordecai sends Esther a message, urging her “to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people” (Esther 4:8b). Esther’s return answer basically is telling Mordecai, “YOU may not know this, but everyone here knows, that to go to the king without a summons equals death, UNLESS he happens to extend the royal scepter to you.” Forget it, Mordecai, I can’t risk that!
Mordecai practices a little tough love by reminding her that if she thinks she alone of all the Jews will escape this genocide, she is sorely mistaken. He also shows his faith that, if Esther won’t act, God will bring deliverance from another quarter, and gives the most well-known line, “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Esther’s hands are tied, and her answer reflects this. She asks Mordecai and his friends to fast for her, and reminds them for good measure, “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Emphasis, mine.) She doesn’t sound very excited or hopeful about this duty she has.
We know that in both Noah’s and Esther’s situations, God was at work, and he used their willingness to bless and carry out His will. We don’t know the extent of their willingness, if they were 100% or 1%, but it didn’t matter. Because they were willing. And God can work with that—not just “work with that,” actually, but accomplish mighty things!
“[Jesus] replied, ‘…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17:20
What can you step out in faith on this week? Do you believe He can use your willingness and mustard-seed sized faith?