Coincidence? Probably Not.
I spent the last part of the summer doing the Beth Moore study of the book of Esther. It’s such a tiny and amazing little book. I feel I could do a series on what I gleaned from my time in it, but I kept coming back to the most famous verse:
“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14
There’s a reason this verse is quoted more than any other. It’s Esther wrapped into one sentence. If you’re not familiar with Esther, or need a refresher, Esther was an orphan Jew living with her cousin Mordecai in Persia. The Persian King Xerxes asks the queen to come and to parade herself for his guests one night at a banquet and she refuses. He gets so mad (and embarrassed) that he sends her into exile and goes about the business of finding a new queen by basically staging his own 5th century BC version of the bachelor. Mordecai, almost like a proud stage dad, tells Esther she should enter but shouldn’t reveal that she is a Jew. Xerxes picks Esther, but as you read it, you realize she was picked by God —to do something extraordinary. Enter the real villain of the story, Haman, a hater of the Jews and especially Mordecai. Haman has the ear of the King and decides to use his power and the King’s indifference to wipe out the Jews. He asks permission to carry out his evil plan and Xerxes can barely be bothered to think about it, so he relents. Esther, who is pretty sure she’s out of favor with her husband since he hasn’t called on her in a month feels like she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. And there’s this little law that calling on the king without him asking results in death. Mordecai tells her,
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
He tells his loving charge, “Sweetheart, you’re going to die either way. You are our hope now. And I think it’s why you’re in this position. To save us.”
I won’t give away the ending. It’s so good.
All this study of an ancient queen made me think about all the times I’ve chalked something up to coincidence that haven’t been a coincidence at all. Surely, never on the level of saving an entire race of people from an evil villain, but I’ve definitely been put in situations that felt like “such a time as this”.
Have you ever been down that road of, “If this wouldn’t have happened, that wouldn’t have either.” I remember getting our housing assignment for sophomore year and instead of getting one of the cool suites in the newer dorm or an apartment, we got on an overflow floor in a freshman dorm. At the time it felt like the end of the world. I would have to explain to everyone that I’m not a freshmen. It’s actually laughable to my 40-year-old self, but I’m pretty sure I wrote a letter to the editor of the school paper about this injustice. But, If I hadn’t been in that gross, kind of smelly dorm I probably wouldn’t have gone to visit a friend in the freshman hallway who happened to have another friend over who happened to be the man I’ve been married to for 16 years and has given me 4 amazing children and a wonderful life. Coincidence? Probably not.
Last month, I was giving pedicures to single moms at our church’s Single Parent Fair and a beautiful soul sat down across from me. As we began to talk, she said she likes her job, but her dream is to write Christian books. I looked at the 10 women in my room giving pedicures and thought about the other 10 in the next room and knew it was no coincidence she was at my station. Because “such a time as this” is how God works. I loved taking the time to encourage this writer and even invite her to some of my favorite writing groups and conferences. But that conversation wouldn’t have happened if I weren't right where God wanted me to be that day.
Maybe your “such a time as this” is a lost job that makes things difficult, but gives you precious time with your kids. Maybe it’s a sick parent who needs your care right now. Maybe it’s a situation you don’t want to be in, but there are hurting people there that are gasping for just a tiny little bit of hope. “And who knows but that you have come to your _____________ for such a time as this.”
You fill in the blank. God will do the rest.