We just started a new series in church last Sunday morning called “The M.A.D. Queen.” It’s a quirky title but it’s all about Esther, the Queen who “Made A Difference”. One of the unusual features of the book (among many) is that the name of God is not explicitly mentioned – not even once. His name is not there but his fingers are all over it and quite clearly the sovereign God is in charge of the events – even the seemingly insignificant ones. There are so many things that just seemingly “happened” but those divine ‘happenstances’ were planned and arranged by God, to bring about His divine purpose for His own people.
This doctrine of the remarkable sovereignty of God in everyday life is a biblical truth. Like scene shifters in a play, who move onto the stage in the dark to rearrange the props and background, so our God moves stealthily in our lives, often unnoticed, to bring about changes in our circumstances. To know that is both liberating and challenging.
It is liberating to know that we are not at the mercy of random happenings or a series of accidents – that there is a loving God who knows and cares and plans for us in love. “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18 v30). It’s definitely liberating to know that the hospital test results are in God’s hands and as Spurgeon quaintly said, “The dust of the chariot wheels is just as providentially ordained as the planet in its orbit.”
But it’s challenging too – if God is in control, then that raises many questions. Why did He let my loved one die? Why is there so much trouble and persecution in the world for faithful Christians? If it really is true that “…..in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8 v 28) then that poses intellectual, emotional, spiritual and practical issues.
Many years ago I was faced with an enormous personal challenge. I struggled to see how any good would come out of it. It looked and felt very dark and hopeless. But I realised even then that I had a choice – to bow before the sovereign God and accept His will or to attribute it all to chance and bad luck and then I would have nothing left – no faith, no hope, nothing. I chose to see God in it and that truth came to my rescue in my time of need.
In the book of Esther we see God at work, even in very dark days for His people. He had His own person ready and in place to bring about deliverance. He was not asleep when the challenge came. To anyone who is not yet a Christian, this too poses a very real question. Whose side are you on? Wouldn’t it be better to side with the One who ultimately wins rather than to be on “the wrong side of history”?