There are two kinds of people in the world: those who watch a TV show week by week, and those who binge the entire series in one sitting. I fall into the group that MUST watch all of the episodes at once because I cannot handle the suspense. Instant gratification party-of-one? Yes, please!
Before the days of Netflix, watching a series on a weekly basis was our only option. I dreaded each season finale, because I knew the fate of my favorite characters hung in the balance. All summer long I wondered whether or not the characters would live or die, finally confess their love for one another, or leave everything they’ve known for the opportunity of a lifetime. As the final moments of the finale approached, I sat powerlessly, knowing there was nothing I could do to reach the resolution I longed for. The show would end, I would take a few moments to recover (don’t act like I’m the only one who’s ever been too emotionally invested in a show), and attempt to move on with my life.
Here’s the crazy thing: many of us think Jesus watches our lives in the same way. We assume He’s sitting on the edge of His throne in heaven, nervously devouring popcorn because He can’t handle the suspense of what might happen next. Or maybe it feels like He’s lost interest in the narrative and isn’t even paying attention anymore. Either way, we assume He has no involvement in the minutiae of our lives.
Jesus is the Screenwriter, not the Spectator.
Friend, that view of Jesus is far too small. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of who the Bible says He is.
God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are constantly at work in our lives orchestrating every action, reaction, tragedy, and victory for our good and the ultimate glory of God. This is not a passive role — no, it’s an active role in which He is directly involved in writing every word of our stories.
Jesus is the Screenwriter, not the Spectator. He has a marvelous plan and at no point is He powerless or incapable of intervening in our lives. We can rest assured that He is never surprised or paralyzed by anything we face. He is using every twist and turn to craft beautiful stories that are part of an even larger story, the glory of which exceeds our wildest imagination.
Take the book of Esther for instance. At first glance, it’s a typical story filled with heroes and villains, good conquering evil, and ultimately a happy ending for the main characters. Because God’s name is not mentioned in this book, it would seem that He is uninvolved, disinterested, or ill-equipped to take action. But, the contrary is true; He is fervently working behind the scenes to ensure the rescue of His people and the glory of His name.
I wish I could channel my “inner Olaf” from Frozen 2 to provide an epic synopsis of Esther’s story in the same way he recounts the entire first Frozen movie, but I’ll do my best to make it just as riveting and sensational.
Esther, a Jew and heroine of our story, is forced to compete in a beauty pageant to become the king’s wife. She wins this legendary showdown and becomes queen. Her relative and father figure, Mordecai, watches the saga of her life unfold from afar. Meanwhile, Haman, the king’s evil and manipulative righthand man, has a vendetta against Mordecai and all of the Jews. He tricks the king into writing an edict that will annihilate the Jews in the future. In essence, he single-handedly institutes a death sentence for an entire people group!
All the while Esther is clueless, until Mordecai finally opens her eyes to the impending doom. He pleads with her in a critical moment, “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Esther takes the charge seriously and calls all of the Jews to pray and fast on her behalf before she brings her request of deliverance to the king.
She holds an elaborate banquet for the king and his number one official, Haman, in which she exposes Haman for the evil man he truly is. She reveals her own identity as a Jew and petitions the king, begging him to reverse the death sentence on the Jews, in an effort to save not only her life, but the lives of all of her people. The king is taken aback, furious that Haman would conjure up such a devious plan. He orders an execution for Haman and writes a new proclamation allowing the Jews to fight back and defend themselves on the day in which the former edict would have sentenced them to death. The Jews are saved and the heinous enemy is defeated!
Esther — a theatrical story in which we can all breathe a sigh of relief because good conquers evil — is a prime example of God’s sovereignty and legendary screenwriting at work. As I said before, God’s name is not mentioned anywhere in this book, but there is evidence of His handiwork woven throughout its pages. Whether it’s the theme of redemption or the practice of using ordinary people to defeat the evil intentions of the powerful, God uses every twist and turn to deliver His people and bring glory to His name.
No matter where we find ourselves, in the midst of intense tragedy or monumental victory, we can rest assured that Jesus is not merely a spectator incapable of intervention. Instead, He is the renowned Creator of the cosmos, Author of every story, Savior and Ruler, composing an awe-inspiring account of restoration and redemption. And if He is the One writing our story, then surely, good is ahead.