Read Esther 7:1-2
Imagine swimming in a vast lake and getting three or four hundred yards offshore when suddenly a freak fog rolls in and surrounds you. You're trapped in this tiny circle of diffused light, but you can't see beyond your arm's reach.
You and I are locked in a tiny space on this foggy lake of life called the present. Because our entire perspective is based on this moment in which we find ourselves, we speak of the present, the past, and the future. If we want to know the hour or minute or second, we merely look at our watches. If we want to know the day or the month, the year or the century, we look at the calendar. Time. Easily marked, carefully measured. It is all very objective: measurable, understandable, and conscious.
God is not like that at all. As a matter of fact, He lives and moves outside the realm of earthly time. In His time and only in His time, He begins to move in subtle ways until, suddenly, as His surprising sovereignty unfolds, a change occurs. It's God's way of lifting the fog, which always happens when He decides and when He pleases!
"What is your petition?" the king asks Esther. "What is your request?"
He's already asked that two other times: when she first approached him and he held out his sceptre, and then at the first banquet. But Esther never answered him, because the time wasn't right. Esther had a sensitive ear, a wise heart; she sensed something wasn't quite right. So, she didn't push it. She knew when to act — and she knew when to wait.
Are you as sensitive as that? Do you know when to listen? Do you know when to speak up and when to keep quiet? Do you know how much to say and when to say it? Do you have the wisdom to hold back until exactly the right moment in order to achieve maximum results? Those things make a difference, you know. The question is: Are you sufficiently in tune with God to read His subtle signals? It's easy to jump at the first sighting of the fog's lifting.
As Solomon once wrote, "There is a time for every event under heaven...a time to be silent and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.