Backstage God – Esther (@crimperman)

Every year my daughter’s dance class puts on a show. It’s very good but (probably because I’ve been on stage myself in other forms) I am always struck by the amount of work that goes on off-stage to keep the show moving. My wife has helped backstage and has told me of the chaos as all the performers (of varying ages) change costumes in a space designed to swing a proverbial cat. As with any other stage production the backstage work probably exceeds the on-stage work in terms of time and planning. It’s the same thing with music performances. Those on stage are very aware of the work done by the sound-desk operator and others (even if it’s often those on stage doubling up).

Possibly one of the best known things about the book of Esther (well by my anecdotal research anyway) is that there is no mention of God. Neither is there any mention of prayer, worship or any other of the traditional disciplines associated with faith. Over time this fact has apparently caused some to question the book as a religious text but to do so is to underestimate the impact of such a text within the context of the Bible. So often we expect God to be in a neat package. Treating him as something between a fond elderly relative we invite to parties and a vending machine we go to when we want stuff.

But here, in the Bible, we see a side of God’s work we may actually be more familiar with if we think about. The hand of God in the protection of his people, in inspiring both Mordecai and Esther to do something is recognisable without scratching too much of the surface of this story.

We attend conference seminars, read books and write songs about God being “absent” or silent. Yet all too often we see his hand and his purposes in hindsight. The story of Esther encourages me for two reasons: first God is not ignorant of the needs of his children, second God works when I’m not aware of it and does so despite my apparently doing my utmost to ruin it all.

Now I come to think of it, I think the story of God’s providential work behind the scenes as depicted in Esther is possibly the closest thing to my daily life I find in scripture. This is a good thing.

About Ryan Cartwright

Ryan Cartwright is a web developer, cartoonist and author who has been blogging since before the term was invented. A Father of two and youthworker based in Essex, he has a passion for freedom and a weakness for Haribo. You can find him at Crimperman.org and @crimperman. His books are available through Crimperbooks.