by Ryan Duncan
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? – Psalms 56:3-4
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be brave. The Bible certainly doesn’t lack for courageous leaders like Moses or fearless warriors like David, but what about those people who showed simple bravery? Esther never led anyone into battle, and as a woman in the ancient world her ability to lead was limited, but when you take the time to study her life you realize how much inner strength she must have had. As a young woman she was taken from her home and thrust into an unfamiliar environment. Later, she was forced to intercede in a murder plot at the risk of her life and the life of her cousin.
Her greatest challenge, however, was when the King’s advisor Haman sought to massacre the Jewish people. Their only hope of survival lay with Esther’s ability to confront the King, an action that could easily get her killed. After all, this was a man who had deposed his old wife on a whim, what would he do to a woman who openly challenged his authority? Reading the verses in chapter 4, I can only imagin how shaken Esther must have been.
Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish." – Esther 4:15-16
We all know how the story ends, the King receives Esther and the Jews are saved from death, but the story of Esther’s courage has remained relevant after all these years. I believe God calls Christians to simple acts of bravery every day of our lives. Whether it’s standing up for someone else, or having the courage to speak out for what we believe, these simple acts have the power to change the world. Don’t be afraid, and don’t be downcast, for God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of courage.
Intersecting Faith and Life: "Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality." – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
2 Timothy 1:7