Trumpets, Banjos, and Good Timing

By Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)This image was made by Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)Email the author: David R. TribbleAlso see my personal gallery at Google Photos - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

As a teenager, I played a warrior’s instrument, a trumpet, in the high school marching band.

Throughout the fall, our band would practice for halftime performances at home football games. Arthur Sweet, our director, would first teach us the music, and then he would show us, on the blackboard, the various formations we would make: the shape of a banjo for “Way Down Upon a Suwanee River” or the Empire State Building for the Broadway medley. Then we’d go to the football field and practice. Over and over we go through the steps, making sure our banjo really looked like a banjo and not a possum or a lawn mower to the crowd high in the stands. As we moved while playing our instruments, we made sure we didn’t knock each other down in our transitions from the banjo to the next formation.

Precision and good timing were Mr. Sweet’s plan, and so we practiced until we were ready. The problem for those of us in the band was that, standing on the field, without perspective, we couldn’t tell the shape of a banjo from the shape of a toilet bowl. So Mr. Sweet would stand on a high platform with a bullhorn, directing our every move. For him, almost wasn’t good enough. It had to be just right.

Before the beginning of time, God knew that King Xerxes would be a volatile man.  God knew that because his first wife would dare to defy him, he would dismiss her from the palace. Years before this, God had put a beautiful little orphan girl in Mordecai’s life, and because of his compassion, he gave her a home. Then God gave this same young woman, Esther, favor in Xerxes’ eyes and he married her, making her the next queen. You talk about a turn of events: a poor Jewish girl becomes the queen of Babylon? But this was part of God’s wonderful plan. His providence.

God also knew that Xerxes would take the advice of his evil advisor, Haman, and order the destruction of every Jew. What if Esther hadn’t been there? But she was. And what if Xerxes had not listened to her plea for mercy for her people? But he did. Precision and timing are God’s great forte. 

How often you and I have looked at our circumstances and wondered what was going on. “What is God up to?” we have brooded.  Unfortunately, we’re on the field, and we really can’t tell the shape of a banjo from a duck. But God, from His vantage point, sees the whole picture. With flawless perfection, His sovereign ways are unfolding one step at a time. So as mere mortals—teenage trumpet players at best—our great challenge is to trust Him.

God’s timing is perfect. No one knew this better than Queen Esther. The good news is that we can take this truth for ourselves because He’s in a place high above us—even higher than Mr. Sweet—and we can trust Him.