The Four Years We Overlook.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Esther lately.
I read the book twice this week because I really like the story, the characters, and the entwinement of God into the events even though his name is never mentioned. It’s a story you can’t help liking. It has all of the qualities we want from an underdog story and the purposeful action of God we desperately want in our present lives.
I like Esther. The story reminds me that God leads us into situations and brings people into our lives so that we might serve him in each moment… but there’s a detail I’ve overlooked every time I’ve read the book until this week.
When Esther was made queen of Persia, it was in the tenth month of the seventh year of King Xerxes reign.
The events we remember in the Book of Esther (the threat of genocide by Haman, the courage of Esther, the triumph of the Jews over their enemies, and Purim) did not happen until the first month of the twelfth year of Xerxes reign.
There’s four years I forget about in the story.
There’s four years of Esther’s life the Bible does not speak about in detail. All we know is that Esther was queen of an empire and that she hid her Jewish heritage.
I always overlooked this small detail in the story, but I now think God put that detail in the story on purpose. In the four years between Esther’s coronation and her courage to face injustice, she must have wondered why God had led her to the palace.
She was not from Persian royalty. Esther was a descendant of exiles and a woman of a religious minority. The choice of Xerxes to make her queen probably seemed more like random chance than anything else.
I’m convinced that in those four years, Esther probably stopped more than once to ask God, “How did I get here and why I am here?” These questions are ones we all ask we encounter change and especially when we have to wait months (or even years) for God to reveal answers to these questions.
Esther had to wait four years to find out why she was placed in the palace.
This fact gives me hope. Knowing that God slowly revealed his purposes in the life of one of the Bible’s greatest heroines encourages me to trust that God is slowly revealing his purposes in my life.
We overlook four years in the story of Esther, but perhaps those four years were the most powerful in preparing Esther to fulfill the promises of God when Mordecai asked her to stand up for her people.