Trusting God’s Timing (Even When Life Feels Out of Control)
Timing has never been my strong suit. I’m the kind of girl you lie to about when the party starts to get me there on time. I consistently burn things in the oven because I never set a timer. Learning choreographed dance is my nightmare. I somehow double-book plans even though I adamantly use my iCal. Once, I bought a flight for 9 p.m., thinking it was for 9 a.m. Ask anyone who knows me: I do life on the verge of late.
It's not something I’m proud of, trust me. I mean, maybe it’s not a huge deal with the small stuff. Definitely chaotic for me and inconvenient for others, but not the end of the world. But there are big things too. Things that make me question whether the timing of—well…my life—is on track.
Occasionally questions run through my head. Questions like, should I have left Columbia after college? Shouldn’t I be married by now? Should I be farther along in my career? Should I have saved more by this point?
In the small and big, timing has always eluded me. This is why I find the book of Esther so fascinating. It’s a story of impeccable timing. Moment by moment, things happen exactly when they should.
There are so many examples, but let’s just look at a few:
- Mordecai is sitting at the king’s gate when two men plot to assassinate King Xerxes. He passes the knowledge along, the men are investigated, and the king is saved. (2:21-23)
- Esther delays her request to save her people by inviting King Xerxes and Haman to not one but two feasts. In the process, she gains Xerxes’s favor and builds Haman’s false confidence in himself. (5:7-11)
- King Xerxes can’t sleep one night, so he reads “the book of memorable deeds.” In it, he finds that Mordecai hasn’t yet been honored for thwarting his assassination. (6:1-3)
- Haman, who’s plotted to kill Mordecai and the Jewish people, is around when King Xerxes needs advice on how to honor “a man the king delights in.” Thinking the honor is for him, Haman hilariously suggests a parade, only to find out it’s for his enemy, Mordecai. (6:6-10)
- When King Xerxes realizes Haman’s plot, he’s enraged. A eunuch overhears the conflict and tells Xerxes about the gallows Haman’s built to hang Mordecai. Xerxes enacts punishment immediately by hanging Haman there instead. (7:9-10)
- Xerxes allows Mordecai to create an edict protecting the Jewish people from danger, turning a day of grief into great joy (8:15-17)
Each time I read through Esther, I’m astounded by how these pieces fit together. How is it that these events happen at just the right time? It seems too perfectly orchestrated to be real.
Until I remember that it was perfectly orchestrated.
It’s easy for us to miss it since the One orchestrating it all is never mentioned. Not once is God’s name spoken or recorded in the book of Esther. But behind every brilliant and beautiful detail of this account is God’s intentional work.
Remember, Esther is set just after the period of Israel’s history known as Exile. God’s people had chosen again and again to turn away from him, so in loving discipline, he allows Babylon to conquer and take the Israelites out of their land.
And yet, judgment is not the end of their story. Even in Exile, God works to bring his people back to himself. Even in their darkest of times, at their lowest point, when timing could not feel more off, God proves his timing to be perfect.
He rescues his people from danger, he places them in power to be a blessing to the nations, and, ultimately, he points to the redemption that was still to come in Jesus.
There are many lessons for us in this short book, but I think one comes from Mordecai.
Mordecai is a man who is confident in God’s timing.
He tells his cousin Esther, “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?” (4:14) Mordecai isn’t worried about his people’s safety. He’s sure God will provide protection, and he has a strong hunch that Esther will have something to do with it.
I think we’d do well to learn from Mordecai’s steady trust in the work of God. Let’s just imagine how it could bring peace to what we’re going through in this very season of life.
Imagine for a minute how confidence in God’s timing would change our perspective on…
- A conflict with a family member that just won’t resolve
- A recent move to a new city
- A totally different job that’s taking time to get used to
- A dating relationship that’s only getting more confusing
- An unexpected health problem that’s making days difficult
- An increasing worry that money is too tight
- A future that seems fuzzy and daunting
The fact of the matter is: life will always have uncertainty.
We’ll face situations that make us doubt whether God’s got this. We’ll walk through seasons of darkness and confusion and wonder why he’s let things get so out of hand.
Reading Esther, we may not see God working. Yet, we know his name is written all over the story. We know his sovereign control and perfect timing prevail.
And we know the same is true for us. God’s name is written all over your story and mine. Even when it’s not obvious, God works in the details. He’s present in the big, scary changes. He’s there in the small, day-to-day decisions. And because of who he is, his timing will always be for his glory and our good.
Do you feel like the world is spinning out of control? Is God even at work? Join Christian and Samantha on Going There as they dive into the story of Esther and take a closer look at what God is really up to.