Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Does God really have things in hand here, or is my life spinning out of control?” I have. Trusting in Jesus Christ at age 18, I soon concluded that if I simply did enough of the right things, my Christian life would be a steady climb toward maturity. Numerous setbacks and failures later, I still believed God was in control and had a purpose through it all.


But as my career, ministry, relationships, and spiritual life hit a series of dead ends, I wasn’t so sure. Maybe I had just been fooling myself. Instead of God being in control, maybe my life’s course had no real purpose after all. Maybe my mistakes were more than God could handle.


Haven’t we all looked at our lives at times and thought, “Can anything be made of this mess?” On the outside, at least, life at times looks bleak and chaotic. It often looked that way to people in the Bible. Think of Joseph sitting unjustly in a prison cell, David on the run from a murderous Saul, or Hezekiah facing an overwhelming Assyrian army outside the gates of Jerusalem. How had things gone so wrong? Was God’s plan still on course, or had He taken a vacation?


One of the writers of Scripture addressed this issue in a most unusual way. The book of Esther never mentions God, yet it relates a part of Jewish history that has God’s fingerprints all over it. It’s as if the writer wanted to emphasize that God is active behind the scenes, even when things seem out of control.


Things definitely seemed that way for the Jews living in Persian exile. Being dragged off to a cruel foreign land was bad enough. Now, the king’s right-hand man had talked him into signing a decree to exterminate the Jews. The details of the plan just happened to become known to a Jew named Mordecai living in the capital city. And this man just happened to have raised a beautiful Jewish orphan girl named Esther. Among countless candidates, Esther was the one selected as queen by the king, who incidentally had just demoted his previous queen.


This young woman—still a girl, really—had the inner fortitude to risk her life by approaching the king on behalf of her people. And the king just happened to have been reading the records of the kingdom, where he discovered that Mordecai had never been rewarded for uncovering a plot against the king’s life. So when Esther pleaded for the lives of her people, the king, who loved her, was now favorably inclined toward the Jews.


Thus, the Jews were miraculously saved and their enemy sentenced to be hanged. What a story of intrigue in the king’s court! And what a story of a young woman whose faith caused her to trust in God’s providence, even when God’s plan for His people looked as though it would be permanently derailed.


The New Testament writers assure us that our Father does indeed have everything under control in our lives. Paul wrote that believers in Christ have been “predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 2:11). In other words, God has a plan, and nothing is going to derail His plan as a whole and for us individually.