I met my husband in the cafeteria at Moody Bible Institute one September afternoon in 1998. I was a new faculty member. He was a new graduate student. That day, I made the seemingly ordinary decision to eat lunch in a different location. My husband made that same choice. Little did I know that this simple decision of where to eat my lunch would change the course of my entire life.
Esther chapter 6 opens with another seemingly ordinary experience: “the king could not sleep” (v. 1). His remedy for insomnia was to order the book of the chronicles to be read aloud. Perhaps he wanted to be entertained. Perhaps he hoped the dry reading material would put him to sleep. The chronicles were the record of every official transaction during the king’s reign. They used it to decide who should be rewarded for faithful service. The king was mortified, therefore, to discover that Mordecai had never been officially honored for foiling his assassination five years earlier (v. 3).
The king’s sleeplessness and his middle-of-the-night discovery function in the narrative as a peripety—a sudden turn of events that reverses the expected action. The whole story pivots on this point. The fact that this is such an insignificant event—a sleepless night—further highlights that this story couldn’t possibly be driven by human action, but by an unseen power. God was clearly at work that night.
It is providential that the king couldn’t sleep on that exact night. It is providential that he called for the chronicles instead of other reading matter. And it is providential that the account of Mordecai was read. God’s hand is evident in each of these seemingly insignificant details.
>> Think about a few key turning points in your life. How did God use seemingly insignificant experiences to change its course? Look for an opportunity to share your story of God’s providence with someone who needs to hear.