The bad times just keep on rolling.
Things seem to go from bad to worse.
Could God be in it all?
In the book of Esther we find one of the most quoted Scriptures of our lifetime, "And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:14b). The words were spoken to Esther from her cousin Mordecai, who also happened to be her "legal guardian" until her marriage to the king. He had found himself in that position because Esther's parents had died. (Esth. 2:7)
The story also takes place while Esther, Mordecai and the rest of the Jewish people were living in exile from Israel because of the invasion of the Babylonians. Esther, of course, was not thinking that she would try to become King Xerxes' wife and therefore the queen. This was thrust upon her by a decree of the king. She was taken from her home, put into a harem and prepared for what was essentially a sexual interview with the most powerful man in the world.
None of this sounds good.
None of this sounds godly.
None of this sounds hopeful.
Yet, all of this was the setup for one of the most celebrated and cherished stories in the Bible. Both Christians and Jews remember how God used Esther and anointed her to bring salvation and deliverance to the people of God in her generation. This is reality for all of the Bible stories we love.
You will never get a testimony of supernatural healing without someone first being sick.
You will never hear about a miracle breakthrough unless someone has run out of options.
You will never hear about God splitting the Red Seas unless that body of water is between you and an angry mob racing to murder you.
What's the Point?
These are the situations and the circumstances where the mighty acts of God take place.
We don't always know how it's going to look or what God is exactly going to do. We would do well to remember that the Gospels record Jesus healing many different people. I guess unfortunately for us, He never seemed to do it the same way twice. Sometimes, He just spoke the word.
Sometimes, someone just touched His clothes. Sometimes, He gave them something to do. And sometimes, He rubbed mud in their eyes.
If we look for patterns or formulas, we may very well miss the "new thing" God is about to do in the earth.
Regardless of how He does it, we have a very real promise that, too, is often quoted and yet not truer than at this moment: "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
Often those "all things" are really just code for "really bad things."
Can God be in the midst of everything we're going through?
Could God be working things out in ways we can't see or are unaware of?
Could all of this be a setup for something good?
The Word of God answers those questions with, "Yes. God is working, and He is working on something good."
Of course, we will have to participate.
Of course, God is looking for faith.
Esther had a very real role to play in the miracle of deliverance, and so do you and I. But it all starts with the place of knowing that regardless of how dark of a moment we are in, God is in it with us. He is working on something good, and He is going to use us for His glory.
Wherever you are, whatever your role, whatever difficulty you are facing or tribulation you are enduring, let us believe together that God has called you and equipped you and will use you, "for such a time as this!"
Keep the faith, beloved.
God is for us and is working all things together for our good.
Jeff Struss is pastor of Life Center Lynchburg. He is an emerging apostolic voice to this generation.
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