“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” —Esther 4:14
Esther is unique among the books of the Bible in that God is never mentioned directly in the entire book. Further, the namesake character endures a difficult arranged marriage to a husband of questionable judgment, while her people, living in exile, face a potentially genocidal threat. Yet, by the close of the book, it is clear that God has orchestrated all the details behind the scenes to bring deliverance to those He loves.
Esther is thus a book that speaks powerfully to the COVID-19 pandemic situation we are presently enduring. In a manner of speaking, “none of us asked for this.” Like Esther and the Jews in Susa, the situation we and our churches face is not one we may have chosen to experience. The threat to those we care about is menacingly real, as the continuously rising statistics concerning the virus and its impact suggest. More than that, the culture around us seems to be grasping for answers in anything—medicine, government, financial institutions—anything other than God. For many, it seems He is absent from the narrative.
Yet one thing is certain: God was not surprised by this outbreak, and He has not lost track of any of us in the midst of this crisis. Nor has He abandoned His desire to see all persons know His love and provision for them through Jesus. It is no accident that you are a part of this unfolding situation—God intends for you, and me, and all of us Christians to be instruments of hope in “such a time as this.” In short, right now, each of us is perfectly positioned to fulfill the “good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
May we, like Esther, do our part by making ourselves available to God for whatever He might ask of us, knowing that God transforms crises into opportunities as we trust Him.