It rained for days. Not the drizzly, misty rain we’re known for in the Pacific Northwest, but fat, cold, splashy drops that fell and fell and fell. We could hear them, hammering the roof. We could see them, coursing down the windows. We watched the backyard spring puddles like leaks in places there had never been puddles before.
And then, Sunday night, the Nooksack River overflowed. Several towns throughout our county were stranded; landslides blocked the interstate. Houses stood silent and empty in the water. The creeks threading through our city surged over their banks and formed rivers down a street known for its car dealerships, and people paddled down it in kayaks. The park down the hill from us disappeared under water; the schools closed; the girls’ karate instructor cancelled classes after watching three cars float down the street.
This was not our plan for the week. I thought we’d run the usual rounds of school, karate, ballet, orthodontist. I’d walk to the nearby coffee shop and work hard, wrapping up an editing project due, you know, right now. I’d catch up on housework and make pie crust for next week. But if the Lord has been teaching us one thing over the past few years, it’s that his plans aren’t always ours, and they’re not always easy to live through. But they are good. And he will walk through those waters with us.
The idea of plans, and the unexpected way God works them out, is woven through Tim Thornborough’s Esther and the Very Brave Plan. This addition to his Very Best Bible Stories series introduces young readers to the story of Esther and shows how the plans of the different characters play out—and how God’s plan runs under them all. The book of Esther is one of my favorite biblical stories, but it’s laced with difficult content that makes it hard to translate for young readers. But Thornborough succeeds: his adaptation keeps heart of the story intact even as he sets aside the tricky stuff for readers to meet later. Jennifer Davidson’s illustrations are animated and vibrant, perfect for telling this story.
When we are in the midst of them, God’s plans are hard to see in full. But stories like Esther’s give us an opportunity to see one of his plans worked out from beginning to end. They remind us that he is always at work, even when we’re not sure how or where, and that he can use anything—even Haman’s genocidal rage—for good. He is trustworthy, and he will not leave us. “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam” (Psalm 46:2–3).
This flood has impacted a lot of people in our county: hundreds have been displaced from their homes and are facing costly and extensive clean-up when they are finally able to return home. Please remember them in your prayers and consider donating to the Whatcom Community Foundation to help with our county’s recovery. Thank you.
Esther and the Very Brave Plan
Tim Thornborough; Jennifer Davidson (2021)
NOTE: This article originally appeared (alongside many other excellent resources) on http://littlebookbigstory.com, in November 2021.