By Pastor Bruce Finn
Have you ever found yourself in a position that was totally unexpected, facing a situation that you instinctively wanted no part of, but eventually you were persuaded that you were precisely where God wanted you to be? Early in his life my brother lost a job he loved when he went to work one day only to discover the building was burning to the ground, never to reopen. Soon afterward he found an even better job, a career that he loved even more, working for an airline. My mother suddenly and unfortunately became a single mom of 5 young children and needed to work to support them after a layoff of almost 10 years. She became an elementary school teacher, happily training young minds for 35 years. Over the course of my career, I’ve been an Associate Pastor three times, willingly serving and supporting the vision of another, only to find myself stepping into a lead role after each pastor left unexpectedly. I’m guessing that you can easily think of similar times in your life when a sudden change in circumstances brought you to a place where you faced unwelcomed uncertainty.
Over the course of my life, I have come to see, experience, and believe in what might be called the “good government of God”, more formally known as God’s providence. Jesus said, in Matthew 10:29-30, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” I believe that God is good, fully, completely and all the time. And I believe that God is governing, everything, everybody, and every detail of the world and life, including my life. Therefore, whatever is unexpected and, perhaps, unwelcomed to me, is not unexpected to God. In His wise government, He has brought it or allowed it into my life for my good and His glory.
Queen Esther, whose story is told in an Old Testament book that bears her name, learned this lesson too. Soon after she was selected to be the bride of the most powerful king on earth, she learned that her people, the Jewish people had been condemned to death. Her uncle pleaded with her to use her influence with the king to save them. She found herself in a very unpleasant, unwelcomed, and unexpected situation. But then her uncle reminded her of the good government of God, the providence of God that had put her in a position of influence. In a loaded, rhetorical question, he said, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Her uncle was challenging her to look at her circumstances through the eyes of her God. Her placement alongside the king was not an accident, a stroke of good luck, or a result of her efforts. She was there for such a time as this.
I could say the same for myself. I am where I am for such a time as this. Though the changes that brought me into my current place of leadership at Covenant were sudden, unexpected, and unwelcomed, eventually I came to see that I am right where God wants me to be, doing precisely what God wants me to do. Honestly, it took me a little while to realize this. (Yes, I can be slow to acknowledge what God is doing in my life.). But since the early days of my service as an interim pastor at Covenant I have been mindful of God’s good government. This gives me hope and confidence.
So, what’s your story? All of us at Covenant have experienced unexpected changes. Perhaps you’ve experience unwelcome change in your family, career, relationships, financial status or health. Whatever that change may be, I’d like to point you to the God of Esther, the God of providence, a God who is good and governing all the time!