One thing I can never get over in Esther’s story is how suddenly her world got turned upside down. One day she’s at home, living her life. The next, she’s thrown into this contest to be the next queen. She blinks, and her life is being put in danger in order to save her people. Things changed quickly for her, and in a big way. What I love is that in the Bible, her emotions aren’t hidden. She isn’t portrayed as someone who had an easy time. In chapter four, Mordecai explains Haman’s plot. Esther didn’t smooth over the situation and say “oh, don’t worry. I’ll just talk to Xerxes and we’ll get this fixed. No big.” She’s open about her fear and the risk involved. She doesn’t pretend to be the brave heroine.
More importantly, she doesn’t let her fear get in the way of what needs to be done. She addresses the fear in the best way she knows how. In Chapter 4: verses 16-17, she forms her plan. She orders Mordecai to have everyone fast and pray, and she agrees to do the same. By dedicating that time to God, she has faith that she will be able to do what is asked of her. Even in that moment, she doesn’t pretend everything is going to be easy. She was willing to lay down her life for her people. “If I perish, I perish.”
Esther understood that she was called to be in that exact place in that exact moment. She was willing to put her fear aside and put her whole trust into the Creator. Even if it meant losing her life, she was going to fulfill that purpose.
This isn’t the only time Esther was really afraid. She asked the King for a banquet in order to explain. When the King put her on the spot, she chickened out and simply asked for another banquet. It happens. We don’t always get it right on the first try, but Esther didn’t give up. She overcame her fear of death, and fell right into God’s plan.
It makes me think of the persecuted Christians today. In America, we don’t often understand our freedom to worship openly. There are countries that kill people, just for proclaiming Jesus. It’s illegal to have a Bible. People are dying every day. These people are willing to give up their lives to honor God, and we, myself included, complain about going to church or back away from telling people about Jesus.
Where is our courage? Where is our boldness? What will it take for us to say “if we perish, we perish.” ?