During my years as a pastor, I was often called to sit with people at the lowest moments of their lives. Whether we were huddled under the stark lights of a hospital emergency room or sitting on their living room sofa, sometimes there was little I could do but listen and pray. What do you say to parents when their child dies? How do you encourage a person who has lost a job or whose spouse has walked out the door? Despite our eternal hope, we don’t always have answers in the here and now.
But, as someone who has studied Scripture from beginning to end, I am confident of this: there is more to our stories than may meet the eye. We read two stories throughout the Bible. First, we see the human narrative of sin and failure, of forgiveness and repentance. But we must not overlook the second story, God’s story. Our God was present at the Creation and in the Resurrection, but His hand is also evident throughout Scripture in less obvious ways, orches- trating events, softening hearts, working miracles, toppling leaders, and saving the lost.
Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to like to tell us “the rest of the story.” And too often we forget that God is working behind the scenes creating the rest of our story. No matter what we may face, He is present, and He is in control.
As you read the book of Esther, you will see two stories. The first is Esther’s. She is a young woman, chosen by the king for her beauty. She is also Jewish. One of the king’s top officials hates the Jews and makes it his mission to destroy God’s people. Esther’s story seems hopeless. Why would God allow such a wicked man to triumph?
But if you are patient and keep reading, you see Him at work in Esther’s life. He has carefully orchestrated each moment in Esther’s life so that she is in the perfect place at exactly the right moment: “for such a time as this” (4:14).
God works in miraculous ways through Esther’s story to deliver His people. It is her story, but it is also God’s. And so it is with us. When your life seems grim, and it appears that your story has taken a terrible turn, remember that God is still at work. There is more to our story. From the beginning to the end, our God reigns.