Quick! What’s the only book of the Bible that doesn’t directly mention God? Ah, you guessed. It’s Esther. But while He’s not mentioned, that doesn’t mean He isn’t there. It’s what the sages of old called providence. Providence is the manifestation of God at work in indirect ways, like through nature or circumstances.
Esther is the story of a young Jewish woman, born a slave in the far-off land of Persia, who through a series of twists and turns became the queen and rescued her people from total annihilation at the hands of a wicked and racist man. Through His providence, God was at work in the lives of Esther, her uncle, King Ahasuerus, and even evil Haman.
The young queen had to either hide her identity as a Jew to save her life, or she could expose herself and a Jew and try to rescue her people. It was a very difficult choice for anyone to make, but she was reminded: Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). Esther believed that the unseen hand of God was at work through her.
I once attended a play and was seated in just the right place that at the end of the first act, I could see through the tiny crack between stage floor and the curtain. I could hear noises from behind the curtain and shadows on the floor as props and people were moved about. I couldn’t see what was being moved or how it was being arranged, but I saw hints that the stage was being set for the next act. Then the curtains pulled apart and the movement of the props made sense.
God’s providence works the same way. He seldom works in miraculous ways that we can identify, but more often by providence. There are rare instances when we are seated in the perfect place to glimpse between the stage floor and the curtain. The glimpse of shadows and sound of shuffles let’s us know that He is active in our circumstances. However, we are usually left in the darkness of His theater to trust that when the curtains part on the stage of our lives, He has everything and everyone in its perfect place for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).