Unfortunately we live in a world in which secrecy is almost always considered something negative. And of course there is good reason for that. How many newspapers would survive if it weren’t for dark secrets they can expose and print as headlines? Not too many.
In the kingdom of God, however, secrecy is not always seen in such a negative light. Jesus, for example, talks about developing a healthy secret life when it comes to praying, fasting and giving.
And then there is what you might call secret grace.
The story of Esther, perhaps more, or at least as much as, any other, reveals the power and influence of secret grace.
God’s secret grace is at work all through Esther’s life.
His secret grace is at work in the affairs of court. When Queen Vashti refuses her husband’s invitation and subsequently loses her position, a piece of the jigsaw of Esther’s life falls into place. Esther could never have imagined that Vashti’s dismissal and divorce would have such a profound impact upon her life.
Secret grace was at work in the people that God put around Esther. Mordecai, Esther’s adoptive father, was a key influence on her life. A parent and a mentor. And his part in foiling a plot to kill king Xerxes eventually played a crucial part in Esther’s story (2.7, 10-11, 22).
Hegai, the manager of Xerxes harem, favoured Esther, and no doubt helped her manage the politics and practicalities of life in the harem (2.8,15).
And of course Xerxes, the king. He married Esther – possibly much to her surprise! And then in chapter 6 he is awakened in the night, reads some official documents and finds he need to reward Mordecai! (2.17-18; 6)
God’s grace was at work in and through all of these people.
Finally, God was at work in Esther’s personal circumstances. Her place of birth. Her appearance and even her pain (2.7). All of these were important pieces in the jigsaw that we know as the story of Esther.
God’s secret grace is at work in our lives. God is secretly working for us. He is not against us. He works in places and events that seem to have no connection with our lives whatsoever. His secret grace is at work through the people He has placed around us. And it was and is at work in our personal circumstances, however unpromising they might seem.
God is for us. His secret grace is powerfully at work. As Romans 8.28 says in The Message:
“We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”