Did you know that the story of Esther does not mention the name of God once? It’s one of the only books in the Bible that makes no mention of HaShem whatsoever.
Messengers from God are absent, angels, prophets and even voices from heaven are nowhere to be seen. At one point in history it was even debated if the book of Esther should remain in the Bible due to the lack of mentioning God, and because we cannot find any concrete mention of HaShem in the book of Esther, the story begs us to ask the question, “Where is HaShem?”
After all, his people were almost annihilated, and the situation looked rather dire. I’m sure many of us have asked HaShem where he is during our own dire situations. And while I believe there is certainly space for this question in our lives, it seems that the story of Esther is showing us a little more.
Behind the mysteries of the story there seems a larger reality. Even though we don’t see HaShem in the story, it’s easy to see that he is behind the curtain orchestrating the story and saving his people through his servants. We can look at it as though HaShem is pulling the strings; while he is not on the front stage directing, he is behind the curtain quietly guiding the story for the ultimate redemption of his people.
This shows us that while HaShem is not mentioned once in the story, he is still there. Sometimes in life when bad situations happen to us, we often ask God, “Why?” When we are in the middle of very stressful times we often challenge God by asking, “Where are you?” and I’m sure Esther felt the same way facing her difficult situation.
For her, there was a lot of unknowns, and the lives of thousands were at stake. It was not an easy task she was given, and I’m sure in some ways she felt that HaShem was very far away. She probably asked HaShem to come down and show her what to do. She probably begged for his redemption and for the situation to end soon. In turn, HaShem quietly used his servant to save his people and in the end, answered her prayers.
I think this gives us a great example and an important question to ask ourselves during this season. When we do not feel HaShem, do we run away from him? Or do we continue to seek him and listen for his quiet direction? Do we turn away and allow worldly influences to pull the strings of our lives? How quickly do we give up on HaShem when we feel that he is not near? There comes the point in everyone’s life where he or she feels that HaShem is very far away, that he has hidden from them. This can be a very painful experience, especially in our darkest times. But, as we learn in the Purim story, even though HaShem is not mentioned, it does not mean he is not there. Esther could have turned away and chosen not to save her people, but she didn’t. She chose to continue in faithfulness to her calling despite not knowing exactly where she was going or what she was doing.
As teenagers, we can often feel lost in our lives. It’s hard to discern where HaShem is, and where he wants us to go. What makes matters worse is sometimes we feel that he is silent. But, as we learned in the Purim story, while it may seem as though Hashem is silent, he is always in the background watching over us, guiding us, and longing for us to call out to him. When we choose to turn toward God, even when he is silent, we are opening ourselves to him. Who knows? Maybe HaShem will use you for something very special.
Happy Purim #dontgetlost