The story of Esther is an infamous book in scripture about how the courage of one woman can change the destiny of a nation. I don’t know about you, but when I read it something stirs in me. I get curious if her tale is a rarity or if God meant for it to be a common expression of a courageous heart.
It’s easy to read the story of Esther and focus on her expression of courage. It’s easy to read it and set a standard that feels impossible to reach, but one to admire from afar. It’s easy to read it and find ourselves so far from the King’s palace that it’s only a spec in the distance of our life.
I sometimes find myself wondering if God has created me, like Esther, “for such a time as this.” I wonder if there is a collection of people that are depending on me to be brave in asking the King for their salvation, their redemption, and their transformation. I also wonder if that time has already come and gone and I missed it.
An honest confession of spiritual idealism forces me to disclose that I love the story of Esther when I see it on a big screen with popcorn in my lap. But when I look at my own life, I can’t seem to find that kind of life altering faith and courage. It sometimes feels like a fairy tale instead of a proclamation of truth.
My life is often filled more with fear than with courage. My life is often filled more with hesitation than with action. My life is more often filled with regret than with victory.
If I read Esther from this tender place of honest confession, I begin to see something in a new light. Esther was afraid. Esther hesitated. Esther was confused.
Esther was a human, just like you and me, who counted the cost of this ridiculous act of faith that was in front of her. She felt the fear, she argued God’s plan, she looked for a way out, and she hesitated. Esther was more like a hardcore heroine than a fairy tale princess.
I realize that Esther was a hero because of her fear, not in spite of it! The fact that she was afraid and did it anyway is the very definition of courageous faith. She risked everything out of a pure trust that God somehow had a plan that she didn’t understand.
Esther obeyed in the face of fear. She responded in the face of hesitation. She followed in the face of confusion.
Fear, confusion, and hesitation are elements I can locate much easier in my own life. I see where those things have made themselves at home in my heart and reside happily. I see how much space they actually occupy in my life.
We often have this idea that we have to rid ourselves of fear, hesitation, and confusion. Maybe there is freedom and transformation when we choose to allow them to be present. Maybe something new could be born in us if we follow God into the mystery. Maybe we just invite fear, hesitation, confusion, and anything else that wants to come along.
The story of Esther can be found in the book of Esther in the Old Testament. Visit her today. Allow her fear to inspire you.