I love the story of Esther. It’s my ‘go to’ Bible story. It’s packed full of life wisdom and tells the story of a shy young girl from nowhere, overcoming impossible odds to become a queen. It’s also a tale of hatred, jealousy and ruthless ambition which is ultimately smashed to smithereens.
But here’s the verse from Esther 6:1 that I read recently; That night, the King couldn’t sleep, so he ordered the book of chronicles, the record of his reign to be brought and read to him’.
This might not seem a remarkable verse but for those who don’t know the story, behind the scenes, an unprecedented genocide was about to take place.
Esther and her family knew this, they knew they were on the verge of being wiped out. But Esther also knew she couldn’t say anything, she needed to wait for the right moment. If she got the timing wrong, the King would allow the mass murder of innocents to go ahead.
She had to trust God, watch (with great alarm) what was happening, but all the while fervently keep on praying that God would open the eyes of the King.
Ever been in a similar situation? You’ve probably not had to stop an impending genocide, but maybe someone’s lied about you? Maybe someone’s overlooked your abilities in pursuit of their own ambition? Maybe you’re feeling squashed, forgotten, rail-roaded and wondering if God even cares. Maybe you’re having to stand by and say nothing, when everything in you wants to shout, LOOK WHAT’S GOING ON!!
That’s why I love this story. Esther was stuck in an impossible situation, her life was hanging in the balance and yet, her prayers were working in unimaginable ways. She couldn’t say or do anything and was truly stuck between a rock and a hard place…but there was still a plan.
So in the interim, she prayed, said nothing and waited for the right moment.
And then one night, God woke the King in the wee hours and gave him the genius idea of reading some scrolls. And suddenly from reading those scrolls, the King began to see that a great injustice was about to unfold. And as he looked into it, in a flash, the timing was right, his eyes were opened and Esther had her moment. If she’d acted sooner, it’s likely the King would not have been ready to hear what she had to say.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do in a situation is say nothing, but pray and ask God to open eyes and bend hearts.
Even if it feels like God has forgotten you or he’s not answering your prayers, he might just be about to do the impossible, to ‘wake up the King’ in the situation you’re facing.
God has not forgotten you. He’s just getting started.