The Mysterious Providence of God
Esther was the young Jewish girl growing up an exile in the Persian Empire. Through a series of unlikely events, she is suddenly thrust into the position of the king's wife. Although she was not in a position of power, she was in one of great influence with her enamored husband.
Soon, however, a wicked man by the name of Haman plotted against Esther's people, devising a plot by which they would all be put to death because of a perceived slight by Mordecai, Esther's cousin. Someone had to act to save the people, and Mordecai realize that someone was Esther. By courier he sent word to her of the danger and asked her to intercede. This was not an easy request—if anyone, including the queen, went before the king uninvited, they could be put to death. At first, she hestitated, but she received the following words from her cousin, "Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, 'Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'" (4:13-14).
Mordecai's tremendous faith in God is seen in this text. He trusted in God to deliver His people ("For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place"), but he also acknowledged God's mysterious providence as well ("And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"). As it turned out, Esther was placed by God and used by Him for great things.
The familiar phrase "God moves in mysterious ways" was the first line of a hymn by William Cowper (1731-1800). It found its basis in Biblical passages such as Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." These truths are beautifully illustrated in this story of fear, confidence and courage. Esther's story reminds us that God's workings are not always known or understood in the moment by us, but indeed He is active and moving nonetheless.
Despite life's hardships and uncertainties, we can draw confidence in Paul's words found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Like Mordecai, we must trust in the darkest of times that He will work His plan, and that if we are His children, that will be for our good always. Like Esther, we must be willing to act with courage in God's service, even if things seem hopeless. Our confidence comes from a belief in a God who can work at anytime in anyway through anyone to accomplish anything He desires. Whether we understand it or now, we trust it, and wait "for such a time as this."