If you have never read the book of Esther in the Old Testament, take some time to sit down and read it. It only takes a few minutes to read. I cannot get into the whole plot right now, for that would take up quite a few paragraphs of this devotion. Yet the story of Esther is a remarkable story and unique for a variety of reasons.
For one, if you searched all through the text of the book you will not find any mention of God, or prayer, or any worship practices. But even though God is never mentioned specifically in the text, as you read the story of Esther, you cannot help but see the handiwork of God interwoven all throughout the story. God’s guiding presence can be seen throughout the story as certain events unfold.
How often do we go about our business unaware of what God is doing in our lives? We never see a huge neon sign come out of the clouds pointing to something that says, “God is here.” Just like the book of Esther, we do not see signs of God’s work spelled out in big block letters. But the evidence of God is all around us. How often do we fail to detect it as we go about living our lives?
There is an anonymous poem that captures this sentiment.
“Oh, where is the sea,” the fishes cried,
As they swam the Atlantic waters through;
“We’ve heard of the sea and the ocean tide
And we long to gaze on its water blue.”
Just as these fish swim about looking for the sea, we today live and move about in an ocean of God’s providence, but we cannot see the ocean for all the water. We are unaware that God’s presence is all around us. We live in a world where the direct activity of God is comprehended as other things, other reasons.
To quote the author J. Wallace Hamilton, “In a world that could not for one moment exist without the activity of God, we have conditioned our minds to a way of thinking that leaves no room for him. So many of our wants are provided by what seem natural and impersonal forces, that we have lost sight of the great Provider in the midst of providence.” It is no wonder that we feel like the fish in the poem, looking for the great ocean of God’s presence among all the water, when it turns out that the ocean is all around us. We are swimming in a sea of grace.