There are those who submit to the idea of coincidence. That the advantageous events of our lives are purely a product of being at the right place at the right time. On the other side, there are those who believe in fate. That things were simply meant to be, that an unknowable force has brought things to be the way they are. Scripture has always proclaimed a third way. That there is a sovereign God who created all things and controls all things but does so in a way with intimacy and intricacy, with care and integrity, for one large, grand purpose that stands over all the events of human history.
The ancient Greeks used two different words to talk about time. Chronos referred to time as a sequence or passage, the seconds that tick away on a clock, the rising and setting of both the sun and moon. Kairos was the term used for particular moments in time where purpose and meaning converge in an indescribable way.
Kairos is the word used here in Esther 4:14. Yes, Esther may have become queen because of her beauty. Her position close to the highest levels of power and privilege had less to do with any of her own abilities and probably more to do with quality genes and a lovely disposition. And yes, so much of the situation her people, the Jews, faced in that moment were out of her hands. Nonetheless, Mordecai highlighted and Esther understood that when her people reached a crossroads with this foreign kingdom, she was now placed in a unique place and time that was more than just dumb luck or destiny. The Lord, mysteriously never mentioned in the ten chapters of Esther, has raised her up precisely for a time such as this. It is not that she has a moment now to shine but she finally realizes the calling she is to fulfill.
Our Savior Christ, fully human and fully God, lived a "kairotic" life. He knew the purpose for which He was sent and sought to honor His Father with every breath and step He took. There was no moment of resignation to out of control circumstances in the person of Christ but a submission to the sovereign will of the God who had sent Him and for whom He lived for. Faith and trust and love meant walking in step with without fear or doubt of His Father's presence with Him. It's a far cry from Esther's statement in v.16, "If I perish, I perish," but a march down the road to Calvary to His own crucifixion for our sake.
As "the joy set before him" (Heb. 12:2), Jesus' life and death for our sake means we are redeemed into a new life that does not measure our lives by the chronological passage of time but a kairos understanding of each day of our lives. We are to take stock of the context and place in which God has us in and ask ourselves, "How might God call me to faithfulness given where I am at today?"
The truth is that very often means simple, everyday calls to spiritual obedience; being great at your job, loving your family properly, spending time in Christian disciplines, hanging out with your neighbors. But let us not avoid considering that perhaps you're divinely appointed to speak with the homeless panhandler. That you have a particular platform to address racism, sexism, or prejudice. That even unfortunate circumstances might be pregnant with purpose, where a flat tire that leads to honest conversation with a stranger. Faith not only acknowledges that this world doesn't revolve around us but recognizes that it revolves around the God who holds all of us in His loving, gracious hands. May we make the most of our days not for ourselves but in faithful service to the God who puts us in our particular place and time and around particular people for good and right reasons.