“I know that the LORD is great, that our LORD is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the Earth, in the seas and all their depths.”
-Psalm 135: 5-6
I hope you have really enjoyed going through the book of Esther the past couple months. I know I have. And I know that God has great things in store for us as we continue our way the book through the end of August (and maybe even into September).
The more I read and study, the more I see the true theme of Esther coming out all across its pages. You know, many scholars say that there’s a very important and specific reason why the book of Esther was written without God ever being mentioned even once. They say that the author intentionally left God’s name out of the book so that the reader would have to do the work of looking for God and His working without ever reading His name. And we’ve certainly seen that. We’ve seen how God used the king’s anger, pride, and insecurity to bring Esther into power as Queen. We’ve seen how God allowed the horrible circumstances of the so-called “beauty pageant” to enthrone Esther for such a time as she found herself in. We’ve seen how God had Mordecai at just the right place at the right time to overhear the assassination plot of the king in order to save his life.
And as we read these accounts, we can’t help but think about all the things that God is doing right now in our lives. As we saw this past Sunday, sometimes those things that we think are bad circumstances are really ones that God is using to bring us to the place He needs us “for such a time as this.” The more I read the book of Esther, the more I see God’s hand in my life through good, bad, and neutral circumstances. God truly is SOVEREIGN.
It seems like whenever you are learning something about God, He often delights not to let that Biblical principle remain theoretical, but to let you live it out. The same is true for me right now. For the past couple months, I’ve been preaching on how God is sovereign and in control. I’ve been preaching about how God moves people to specific times and specific places because He has them there for a reason. And wouldn’t you know it, that as soon as I start preaching that and re-learning that for myself, God turns the theoretical into the practical overnight.
That’s what God did for me last week. You see, last week John Gehring pulled me aside and told me that he had been approached by Pine Summit camp in Big Bear to become their Executive Director and that he had accepted the position. Of course, in my human reaction, my jaw hit the floor just like yours is now. (Really, look in a mirror.) So I proceeded to tell John how he was missing all of God’s signs and how God had told me that He was NOT calling John to Pine Summit. But once I was able to step back from the situation for a moment and hear John tell me how he felt God calling him back to camping ministry, I started to realize that this was an object lesson in trusting in God’s sovereignty and His ability to put people where He needs them “for such a time as this.”
You see, John proceeded to tell me that his heart had really been stirred by God’s Word in Matthew 25 when we went through it a couple months ago. During that sermon series, he felt himself asking, “Am I really using the gifts, experiences, abilities, and resources I have been given in the best way I possibly can for the Kingdom?” As he pondered that question, he realized that God was calling him back to camping ministry. Once I was able to hear this from John, I had two reactions. First, I started to see that I was the one misreading God in trying to keep John here. Second, I realized that itthat was a really dirty trick of John’s to say that my message is what stirred his heart to go to camping ministry. How could I argue with that? (Just kidding, of course.)
So, I’d like to say that it is with a heavy heart that John will be transitioning to Pine Summit next month. But how can I? Is not God sovereign? Does not God appoint people in specific places and times? Is not John well-equipped to use his gifts and talents for the Lord at Pine Summit? How can we respond with anything but a hearty round of applause for God as He continues to operate the gears in the background? No. We must respond with a hearty round of applause as God appoints people to Hemet, to Big Bear, to Indonesia, to Turkey, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth “for such a time as this.”