By: Krista Steuber
“If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 CSB
The Book of Esther is an inspiring story. It’s a ‘rags-to-riches’ type of tale about a young Jewish woman who became the queen of Persia and used her status and influence to courageously step out in faith to save the lives of the Jewish people from a plot of murder. What’s interesting about this book of the Bible is God is not mentioned in it at all. But, when you study the story and look at all the details surrounding everything that plays out, it’s evident God was at work in the background. His hand and divine providence were over everything – all situations and circumstances. There’s no way Esther would have become queen or her leap of faith been successful without God at work. Everything unfolded by His doing. It wasn’t by luck or chance or coincidence. He worked providentially to take care of His people; the Jews.
I think it’s often the same in our lives. God’s at work in the background, even when we’re not aware of it or can’t feel it or understand it. He’s always there working. It’s often hard to see in real-time, though. A lot of the time it’s only in hindsight where we can look back over the play-by-play and see how God orchestrated everything perfectly, as well as the purpose behind much of it.
It’s that way for me when I look back over all of the circumstances surrounding my move to Florida from Pennsylvania and everything that brought me to being a part of this ministry where I am able to share my stories with you. Everything literally fell into place for my husband and I to be able to make that 1000 mile move. Here’s the super short version of how it went:
We decided we wanted to move to the Tampa, Florida area and did some research on where would be good areas to look for a new home. Our house in Pennsylvania was already sold, and our finances came together so we would be able to purchase a new house. We got a realtor through my husband’s contacts and flew down one weekend to look at houses. We just happened to find one that had everything we were looking for, including the right price. We came to an agreement with the sellers on the purchase price and the closing date, and in just four days we were under contract. My husband secured a job in Florida four weeks before our closing date. Several months after we settled in, my new next-door neighbor and friend invited me to join her at the women’s Bible study she was attending and then another one a short time later she led at her house. It was during that second Bible study my life was transformed by Christ and I began chasing hard after Jesus. From that point on, one thing led to another, then another. I met other women, learned and grew spiritually, came to understand my identity in Christ and purpose, and had the opportunity to be part of a brand new women’s ministry whose mission was to help women along the very journey I had just experienced.
Although I’ve abbreviated the details quite a bit, when I look back over every piece of what happened, I have no doubt God was at work in it all. His fingerprints are on everything. It wasn’t luck, it wasn’t being in the right place at the right time, it was Him. I’m in awe about how each detail was worked out perfectly by Him.
With all of that being said, there was still a part I had to play. God is always working, but we each have a role. There are choices we must make when God is working in our lives. For Esther, she had to choose to risk her life to approach the king in order to save her people. Obedience to what she knew was the right thing to do was key, even though it was difficult. She fasted and prayed for three days, asked her fellow Jews to do the same, and then she acted (Esther 4:15-17).
There were choices I had to make. Sometimes I still can’t believe we made the move to Florida. We had always talked about the possibility of moving south one day, but the fact we (mainly I) actually went through with it still seems kind of crazy to me. Especially considering we had only visited the Tampa area one time before we came down to look at houses, and we knew no one in the area. But in my gut I just knew it was the right thing to do. Was it easy for me after we moved? Not in any way. I remember crying and telling my husband I thought we had made a mistake. I was homesick and lonely and really missed my family. I went through an extremely difficult time physically and mentally for about a year after we moved. But moving back was never really on my radar. God was continuing to work in my life even though I didn’t know it at the time.
After Holy Spirit transformed my perspective during the Bible study and I began surrendering my life to Jesus, I chose to be obedient to the things God was asking of me. I made choices that were hard. I said ‘yes’ to doing many things that were outside of my comfort zone, things that really stretched me, things I had never imagined myself doing, and things that required me to open up and allow myself to be vulnerable. I rearranged my priorities so God was first in my life, and I took a hard look at what I needed to surrender that I was putting before Him or was not of Him. I prayed for help to forgive and to let bitterness and negative feelings go, to see people the way Jesus sees them, and to love people the way Jesus loves them. I made a lot of mistakes, but with God’s grace and mercy, I worked toward being a better reflection of Jesus.
I still do all of these things (and still make many mistakes). It’s a daily, ongoing surrender to recognize and lay down things in myself that do not align with the heart and will of God. I do none of it on my own – it is only possible through the grace and leading of Holy Spirit. The ‘why’ behind all of it is simple. I want to follow Jesus. I want Him to be Lord of my life. I want His will to be done.
So, friend, if you’re at a place in your life where you can’t feel or see God in your circumstances or don’t understand what’s happening, know He is right there with a purpose behind everything. Also know there are choices you must make while He is working. Listen to the guiding of Holy Spirit and act on what He is calling you to do. Be obedient to what is difficult and uncomfortable and what needs to be surrendered. The result will be freedom and purpose in who you are as a precious and mighty child of God and His will being done.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV