This post is written by Leslie Hudson and is published as a companion to Unit 18, Session 1 of The Gospel Project for Adults Vol. 6 (Winter 2022-23): From Captivity to Restoration.
“What if it all depends on me?”
For some of us, that’s our biggest fear. We’re ready to help, eager to benefit the team, and willing to work hard for the group. But when we look deep down inside ourselves, we wonder, “Could I really make that call? Could I really be that strong? Could I endure?”
Carrying the Burden
Frodo Baggins comes to mind—he alone had the power to carry and destroy the ring of power in The Lord of the Rings series. Perhaps you see yourself in Frodo: an average guy, ready for some adventure but not too much, not looking for trouble. But suddenly it hits him—the ring is his to bear, and the burden just might undo him and everyone he cares about.
Granted, some people are made for that calling. Great team leaders, in athletics, business, and government, want the proverbial ball in their hands when the going gets tough. They want to be the one to take the last shot or make the decision or decide when to take the next step. But even people comfortable in leadership realize that sometimes there are no decisions where everyone wins; you count up the gains and losses, hoping against hope that you’ve made the right decision but never really sure of yourself until the buzzer sounds, the deal is done, or the struggle is over.
Others shrink away from the “last-shot” authority. Those are the ones who hope they’re on the bench when there’s one more possession before the end of the game. Or the business leader who defers to the board when a tough call needs to be made. It’s the governor hoping his veto is overridden because he wasn’t sure what was right in the first place.
Still, whether we want the pressure of making the decision on behalf of others or not, we all find ourselves in that position from time to time—the loving daughter who has to decide when to take her father off life support, the father who figures out which schooling option is best for his children, the teacher who sees an emotional issue in a child and decides to bring it out into the open. In each issue, the pressure of a thousand “what if?” questions bombard our hearts and minds, and we find ourselves unsure that there is even a correct decision to make.
Here’s where Esther helps us gain our perspective. She was living a life of much luxury and seemingly little responsibility. We can assume that she had plenty to eat, spa time each day, and felt her life was moving along as well as an orphaned Jewish girl could have ever dreamed. But then forces beyond her control begin to move—a relative refuses to bow, a government official is offended, and out of nowhere the message comes to her: It’s all on you. You alone can do this.
Sure, she has the opportunity. But the risk seems so great. The king had already thrown out one queen; what if this pushes him over the edge? And this one man who literally held her life in his hands hadn’t requested to see her for any reason in weeks. This would either be the bravest thing she could do or the most foolish. She might die in her tracks before a word leaves her mouth.
God is With Us
But the concept that one person alone has the pressure to make a decision is misguided for people who follow God. We are never alone; we are never without wisdom or direction. We have the capacity to seek the face of Him who set the planets in motion and keeps the Milky Way spinning. He knows what lies inside the clouds and understands the most microscopic mysteries. Yahweh is His name. And even when all eyes are on us, the ball is in our hands, and the call is ours to make, we understand that we can know His promises are true and His unfailing love endures forever. We cling to His promises and believe His Word.
And we take the risk. And we take the shot.
Leslie Hudson loves her mornings of silence, coffee, and Jesus—not in that order. She lives with her husband and kids in White Bluff, Tennessee, where they raise blueberries, figs, and bees. She loves to spend her free time reading, writing, journaling, and helping others know and follow Jesus.