“Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”               Esther 4:13-14 (NLT)

The ten chapters of the book of Esther read more like a short novel than it does a typical Old Testament book of history. The rise of Jewish exiles, Mordecai and Esther, to great power under the rule of Xerxes, King of Persia, is one of the great “Cinderella stories” in all of Scripture.  Orphaned and raised by her cousin, Mordecai, Esther eventually becomes Queen to Xerxes. In demonstrating loyalty to the King while also protecting his own people, Mordecai’s character is recognized and he becomes second in command under Xerxes and is honored by the Jews for his faithfulness. The story of Esther is a vivid example of how God never forsakes His own and will use the most hopeless of circumstances to bring glory to His name.

Esther was hesitant to pursue the counsel given by Mordecai which led to her becoming Queen, and eventually, the deliverer of her people. It is in that context that the above verses were spoken. God works in the realm of opportunities and seasons. The understanding of this truth only comes as we mature and learn to walk in obedience and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We are often discouraged when a time of blessing ends. We are elated when a time of testing is over. We don’t understand God’s plan when a job or position is eliminated and we are left to question our next steps. 

To be honest, there have been times when I have had to force myself to consider the possibilities contained in that last sentence of what Mordecai said to Esther (leaving out the “queen” part, of course). Think about it. Against all odds and beyond all common sense, you find yourself in the most unlikely of situations and realize that you are standing in what could be a position of opportunity for your own blessing and for God’s glory. You didn’t apply for it. You may have not even prayed for it. But God, in His sovereignty and in this particular season, has provided this opportunity to demonstrate—above everything else—His faithfulness. 

Following God is easy . . . as long as the steps are clear and the outlook is positive.  But, what God knows, and I am having to learn, is that when the steps are not clear and the outcome is uncertain, God still does His best work in and through those who dare to be faithful. He knows the difference between what is permanent and what is a season. He also knows the difference between a crisis and an opportunity. I have to come realize that whatever the situation, this moment is a gift from God to be embraced for His glory.