In college I was on fire. I led Bible studies, helped fix food for fellowship meals, and was always ready to share Christ with the next person who stepped into my collegiate ministry. I married a preacher’s son and got to keep that fire for God going. I was in church all the time, felt the Holy Spirit in my being, and I was on top of the world. Then, I found myself following His plans to medical school and then residency and was so overwhelmed with studying, learning, and working that I didn’t have time to breathe or sleep, much less study the Word as I had so fervently before. I became guilty with myself one Sunday at church and I can remember praying so hard that He would forgive me for neglecting Him as I had. All at once, I had the sweetest peace come over me and heard Him say clearly to my heart, “That is not why you are here.”
After that, He would allow me to randomly find just one verse that would speak to me so sweetly each week, send a special coffee by way of a fellow classmate, make the sermon at church that week just the the thing I was needing, or give me that sweet peace prior to an important exam. Each of these moments making his presence so profound that I always knew Jesus was right there. I felt as though He was silent within me because I wasn’t screaming His name from the rooftops, but in reality, this time in my life was meant to be silent. This was the path God had prepared for me and being obedient meant giving my all to become who He had in mind. At that time, this included reading hours of anatomy and physiology and working 30 hour shifts rather than devotionals. Prayer never ceased, though He felt further away than ever.
I was reminded recently how much the book of Esther applies this to our lives.
"Not only did Esther have a season of preparations where she was groomed and polished to become the queen she was meant to be, but also the book of Esther has so much in regards to faith in the silence."
Have you ever noticed that there is no mention of God in the entire book? Silence. There are no references to Him or prayers to Him. Esther, once she is queen, is pleaded by her cousin Mordecai to convince the king to spare the Jews. While not revealing that she herself was a Jew and risk being killed. Had she not gone through with this and gone to the king, her whole people would have been killed.
Think of it this way. If she had not decided to use her status “for such a time as this,” the seed of David would have ended and there would have never continued the lineage that led to Jesus Christ being born. Yet God is never mentioned. This was a pivotal moment in history. Yet God is never mentioned. How impressive that the writer chose to tell this story without mention of God while keeping His presence so profoundly apparent. It is as if God was saying, “I would not leave you at a time like this, I am just sitting over here orchestrating the whole thing.”
Even the name Esther has been thought by some scholars to have meanings that eludes to this. The Hebrew consonants for Esther are ‘str which as verb mean “I am hiding.” Was this meant to mean that she was hiding the fact that she was a Jew to the king? Or was it the fact that God’s presence in planning all of this was hiding.
How profound that the “silence” of His name in one book can be so deafening . We all go through seasons of silence in our lives. We may not mention His name to each and every person and we may not take the time that we should, but just like in the book of Esther; He is ever present. These seasons of silence are times of obedience and guidance from the Lord. He is preparing your heart to be able to break that silence in ways you cannot imagine.
Enjoy the silent times when God is using you in ways that you will never know.
“Cause I’d rather stand here speechless With no great words to say
If my silence is more truthful And my ears can hear how to walk in your way.”
- In the Silence, song by Jason Upton
JoBeth McCoy is writing her first guest blog post. It has been a recent calling of hers to share God's word through writing. She is a nephrology fellow (that is a kidney specialist for those non medical folks) currently and works long hours. She always makes time for these things: faith, her husband of 10 years Dustin, her 10 month old bundle of energy, Colin, and cooking whatever she is in the mood for. Her sincere prayer is that God speaks to you through these words and that you would use them to draw nearer to Him.