It can be hard to understand why certain things are happening, or even to remember that there is a big picture. But recalling how God has worked in the past, whether in our lives or in the lives of others, gives us hope for the present and future. It helps us to trust that, even though we may not be able to see the big picture, the One who can is in control, patiently putting all the pieces in place.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
I wonder if you enjoy jigsaw puzzles. I have to admit that I don’t particularly like them – I don’t have the patience required! But my mother is a fan. When I visit, there is often a special mat on the dining room table with a partially finished puzzle that she gradually works on for days, if not weeks, until the picture is finished.
When I read the Bible, it seems to me that some of the stories are a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. God is slowly and steadily putting different pieces in place which will one day form a full picture. In fact you could say that the whole story of the Bible is like that as God puts together the pieces of His plan of salvation.
We find one such story in the book of Esther. The main action of the plot to destroy the Jews doesn’t begin until into Chapter 3, but in Chapters 1 and 2 we see God (even though His name is never mentioned in the book) putting various pieces in place which will be essential to the final picture. For example:
- Queen Vashti refuses to obey the command of her husband, King Ahasuerus, to appear at his feast in Susa in Chapter 1. As a result, she is banished from his presence. This happens in the third year of King Ahasuerus’s reign.
- Mordecai and Esther are two Jews living in Susa. For some reason they had decided not to return to Jerusalem at the end of the exile. Mordecai is descended from Kish, a Benjaminite.
- The King decides to hold a competition to find a replacement queen. Esther is one of those taken into the palace to take part. She finds favour with everyone involved, including the King, who decides to make her his Queen. This happens in the tenth month of the seventh year of his reign