“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 royal position for such a time as this?”
About a month ago I saw a performance of Into the Woods. This Stephen Sondheim musical won a number of Tony Awards several decades back, but I had never seen it in person.
As I watched the performance and the familiar fairy tales (including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel) all converging in one brand new tale, I could hear the small orchestra accompanying from backstage. I knew they were there and could detect their presence by the notes being played, but I never saw any of the musicians on the other side of the curtain.
I’m sure there was a lot of other activity going on behind the scenes as well, but it wasn’t visible to me. I was concentrating on the actors and the staging and the story being told through song. Yet in order for the show to go on as I was seeing it, I know there had to have been a lot going on backstage.
All of that activity was being managed by a friend of mine who was the show’s director. I greeted him afterward and told him how much I enjoyed the performance. He is extremely talented and experienced in musical theater, and I could tell everything was in very capable hands.
Another story that was in THE most capable hands of all time is that of Esther 1. God was always working as this story unfolded in the Old Testament, though maybe he’s not as visible here. The Almighty’s every move is not spelled out nor are there scenes where we see him directly speaking to the different characters or them seeking him through prayer. But what we do witness is God’s sovereignty behind the scenes in the lives of Esther, Mordecai, Haman and King Xerxes.
In a nutshell, once Esther was chosen to be the successor to Queen Vashti, she moved into the palace with King Xerxes (but she kept her Jewish heritage a secret). Soon, though, her cousin Mordecai learned of a plot by a high-ranking official named Haman to kill the Jews (since Haman was incensed that Mordecai would not bow down in honor to him).
Mordecai then sent word to Esther in the palace and pleaded with her to help stop this conspiracy. Meanwhile, Haman decided to build some gallows by his house on which he would hang Mordecai. And then meanwhile to that meanwhile, when King Xerxes had a sleepless night he summoned for the official book of the record of his reign for a little late-night reading. And he just “happened” to learn that in prior days Mordecai had exposed two enemies which in turn helped save the king’s life.
What transpired next was just too amazing! The king ordered Haman to honor Mordecai for his past efforts to save the king (which meant that Haman had to robe Mordecai and lead him through the streets on horseback for everyone to see). And then in a series of banquets Esther prepared for both the king and Haman, she finally exposed Haman and his plans to kill the Jews. And as a result, King Xerxes ordered that Haman be hanged on the very gallows this hateful man had built for Mordecai.
And after all of that, the Jews were saved.
Wow! Once you can see all that was really going on “behind the scenes” and how God was moving, aren’t you amazed? If we believe our God is sovereign, then surely we must believe he is always working on our collective behalf. While his ways cannot always be seen, those undetectable works are no less important than his mighty acts and displays of power and glory that we do see.
And in the end, it doesn’t even matter. God wants us to trust him regardless of what we see, because he is always there . . . behind the scenes.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
God doesn’t always dramatically “part the Red Sea” every day in our lives, so to speak. In what smaller, quieter ways have you seen God’s hand move in your life in recent days?