“Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. … ‘And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’” (Esther 2:5-7, 4:14)

My quiet time readings this week are in Esther. The commentaries all note that God is never explicitly mentioned in the book. He is apparently absent. However, He may be unnamed and unseen and unheard, but His presence is clear, and His purposes are evident. I am always struck by the contrasts in the story: two apparently insignificant individuals among the captive remnant of a shattered nation become the key players in the prevention of a brutal genocide. Their own perilous situation – and the fate of their whole culture – weighs heavily on them. It would have been easy to give in to despair and fear and inertia. Mordecai’s faith-filled glimpse of God’s presence and purposes is astonishing given the circumstances he and Hadassah (Esther) find themselves in. His words to Hadassah are both an encouragement and a profound challenge. She must find the courage and faith to believe she can make a difference and to act accordingly.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see some spiritual parallels between the personal perils Mordecai and Hadassah face and our own; between the circumstances they find themselves in; and between Esther’s predicament and our own. In our own personal or national circumstances, we may feel God is absent and silent. We may feel we are on our own and that we are insignificant. We may feel the pressure of despair and fear and inertia.

Let us hear, then, the whisper of encouragement and the challenge of Mordecai’s faith-filled words: “who knows but that you have come to your…position for such a time as this?” Let us respond, then, with the courage and faith to believe we can make a difference, and act accordingly.