Q & A With Max Lucado
AUTHOR OF: YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS MOMENT
Q: In what way does the theme of Esther reflect the theme of the entire Bible? A: The theme of the book of Esther, indeed, the theme of the Bible, is that all the injustices of the world will be turned on their head.
Grand reversals are God’s trademark. When we feel like everything is falling apart, God is working in our midst, causing everything to fall into place. He is the king of quiet providence...and he invites you and me to partner in his work. The headline of the book of Esther reads: Relief will come...will you be a part of it? When all seems lost, it’s not. When evil seems to own the day, it is God who has the final say. He has a Joseph for every famine and a David for every Goliath. When his people need rescue, God calls a Rahab into service. When a baby Moses needs a mama, God prompts an Egyptian princess to have compassion. He always has his person. He had someone in the story of Esther.
Q: In what ways are the lies and confusion of Persia applicable to us today? A: The point of the first chapter of Esther is simply this: Persia is lying to you. Do we need the same reminder? The assignment given to the Jews has been passed on to us. God displays his glory and goodness through the Church. As we worship God, love our neighbors, and cherish our families, we become billboards of God’s message.
We, too, are caretakers. Caretakers of the message of Jesus. He was born through the lineage of the Jews. Today, he is born through the lives of his saints. As you and I live out our faith, he is delivered into a faith-famished culture. We have the hope that this world needs. But sometimes we forget. Persia is lying to us. I don’t mean to be blunt, but, then again, I do. Billion-dollar industries are conning to lure you into lifestyles that will leave you wounded and weary. How do God’s people live in a godless society? Blend in and assimilate? No, this is the time to stand out and assist. We were made for this moment.
Q: How do we face similar temptations as Mordecai and Esther regarding our identity in this world?
A: Our society permits all beliefs, except an exclusive one. Do whatever you want as long as you applaud what everyone else does. The incontestable value of Western culture is tolerance. Ironically, the champions of tolerance are intolerant of a religion, like Christianity, that adheres to one Savior and one solution to the human problem. To believe in Jesus as the only redeemer is to incur the disdain of Persia.
In such moments, God’s message is clear: Remember your name. “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are” (1 John 3:1 MSG). Do you know who you are? And whose you are? You are the presence of Jesus in this world- -an eternal being, destined for an eternal home. Pimply-faced and gangly? Hogwash. You are a citizen of heaven. Unique in all of creation. Secured by Christ for eternity. The devil can’t touch you. The demons can’t have you. The world can’t possess you. What people think about you matters not one whit. You belong to your heavenly Father.
Q: How did Esther find the courage to take on the role of moral leader for her people, determined to lead her people through a crisis?
A: It had to be the straightforward message of Mordecai. Yes, the world is in a mess. Yes, we’ve fallen victim to a brutal Haman. But relief will come, and “who knows whether you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai opened a window and shed a divine light into Esther’s world. “You are here for a reason,” he said. “Your life is part of a plan. You were placed here on purpose for a purpose.” So were you, my friend. You, like Esther, were made for this moment. To be clear, you didn’t ask for this struggle. You want to get past it. You don’t know how much longer you can hold up. But what if God is in this? Did he not place you on this planet in this generation? He determined your birthdate, nationality, and selected your neighborhood (see Acts 17:26). What if you, like Esther, have an opportunity to act in a way that will bless more people than you could imagine? This is your hour. This is your moment. You were made to stand up like Mordecai, to speak up like Esther. Deliverance will come. God will have his victory. He will rescue his people. He will right the wrongs of this world. The question is not, Will God prevail? The question is, Will you be part of the team?
Q: How does the story of Esther guide us to use prayer when facing our own challenges?
A: The moment you bow your head to pray is the moment God lifts his hand to help. Your heavenly Father wants to hear from you. Desperate? Without options? Without solutions? By no means. Now, more than ever, is the time to get down on your knees and plead for mercy. Esther could have remained hidden and done nothing. Or, she could have rushed into the presence of Xerxes. But she chose the wiser recourse. She chose prayer. Her story urges us to do the same. This is the time for a no-nonsense, honest, face-on-the-floor talk with the Lord of All. Garments need not be ripped, but veneer must be removed. Three days of fasting is optional, but the prayer of genuine humility is not. What is your version of Xerxes? What Haman-sized challenge are you facing? Is your job in jeopardy? Is your loved one in hospice? Is your family under attack? Is your faith in tatters? Retreat into your prayer closet. The queen could enter the throne room of Xerxes because she had spent time in throne room of God. The same is true in your story and mine. Once we’ve spoken to the king of heaven, we are ready to face any king on earth.
Max Lucado is a pastor, speaker, and bestselling author who, in his own words, “writes books for people who don’t read books.” He serves the people of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and his message is for the hurting, the guilty, the lonely, and the discouraged: God loves you; let him.
His newest book, YouWere Made for This Moment: Courage for Today and Hope for Tomorrow (Thomas Nelson, September 2021), is a relevant and timely release for a society still reeling from racial divides, political strife, and a global pandemic. Lucado demonstrated how he embraced his “moment” to minister in 2020, starting a daily video check-in. These messages have continued and have been viewed more than 42 million times since March 2020. In these videos as well as in his new book, Lucado encourages others to live fully in the grace and love of God, to step out in bold courage and faith, and to trust God for victory over all injustices.
As a writer, Max is known for combining poetic storytelling and homespun humor with the heart of a pastor. All of his trade books began as sermon series at Oak Hills Church, and his sermons all begin with Max asking himself this question: “What can I say on Sunday that will still matter on Monday?” He’s been dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Christianity Today, and “The Best Preacher in America” by Reader’s Digest.