Once we begin to think about our place in time and geography, the mystery of where we happen to exist is great. Think of all of the other points in time we might have been born. I was born in the latter half of the 20th century; but, I could just as easily have been one of the many people born at the beginning of the 20th century, or in the 5th century of the current era, or 2000 years before the current era. I might have also been born in the year 3000 of the current era, if our world should happen to last that long.
Then, there is the mystery of where I was born. I am one of the fortunate ones to have been born in a wealthy country of the 20th century. It was not a wealthy country in the 5th century but, when I happened to come along, Canada was one of the greatest countries on the planet. The good fortune of living in a country with modern medicine, plentiful food, and clean drinking water is certainly something about which to be grateful. The mystery of how this happens is astonishing.
The reality is that all of us have arrived in the middle of the story. We appear at a time and a place that has been shaped by countless lives that have gone before us. We could not choose the kind of world into which we were born and there are limits on how much we can affect it now that we are here. We are in the middle chapters. It is not the beginning of the book; nor is it yet the end. Each of us finds our place in this story. Some of us work hard to find our place and make our mark. Others are content to drift with the tide of time and place.
Some of the lives that have come before us have been obscure and did little to shape this time and place. Others have put a permanent mark on the world as we know it. What mark will you leave upon this planet? What is your perception of the degree to which you want to shape the world? Each of us indeed has a choice. No one is requiring us to change the world. Yet each of us has the ability to do just that. There is a principle in the book of Esther which proposes that we may have been placed in our current circumstances for a reason. This principle suggests that all of us have choices that we can freely make. When opportunities to act come our way, we may choose to do nothing while others act and have an effect on the circumstances of the day; or we may choose to see the opportunity as something for which we are uniquely prepared and choose to act with resolve. Esther 4:14 can be paraphrased, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place; but who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?”