Intentional gratitude is always top-of-mind this time of year, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching. With the hustle and bustle of life, it’s often easy to forget that expressing gratitude applies to all seasons of our lives. As believers, we are called to be grateful in all situations and to live with the joy of the Lord.
Characters of Courage: Esther
Courage. When it comes to characters who are constantly courageous, superheroes are the quickest to come to mind. In movies and on TV, these heroes never seem afraid to do whatever it takes to save the day. Superheros are fearless in the face of danger, because they’re confident in their power. They don’t have to be afraid, because they know they have the strength to rise to any challenge.
If you’ve ever wished for a superpower, we have great news: You have one! Your power is Jesus within you, and He gives you undeniable strength. We learn this truth firsthand from one of the Bible’s most notable characters of courage, Esther—a true superhero in her own right.
Esther was a young Jewish woman being raised by her Uncle Mordecai, after the passing of her mother and father. One day, King Ahasuerus was in search of a queen, and he ordered his servants to gather young women from all over the provinces he ruled in search of someone he saw fit to be queen. After a long process of the women being gathered and prepared to meet the King, it was Esther who stood out to him. She was the chosen one.
However, out of hatred for the Jews, the King’s assistant, Haman, sent out a decree that all of the Jews who refused to bow to the King should be killed. Hearing about the decree, Esther’s uncle Mordecai contacted Esther to tell her that she had the opportunity to be a difference maker. Esther could approach King Ahasuerus and boldly ask for the decree to be done away with but risk revealing herself as a Jew. Or, she could remain silent and watch her people be destroyed while hoping she was safe in her royal position in the kingdom. To add to the challenge, no one was allowed to approach the king unless they were invited by him ( Even his wife! ). Approaching without permission would almost certainly end in death.
Cour·age /ˈkərij/ the ability to do something that frightens you and to find strength through something painful.
Esther’s life was on the line, as well as the lives of her people. It was likely she would die either way. However, Esther decided to put her fear aside and courageously do what she knew she could through God. She said:
“And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
She approached the king without an invitation, and he made the rare exception for her to make a request before him. She then proceeded to put her life on the line by asking the King to do away with the decree of destroying the Jewish people saying:
“If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given as my petition, and my people as my request; for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated...”
The King heard Esther’s plea and chose to have mercy on her and her people. Angry that Haman would decree for the Jewish people to be destroyed, The king put Haman do death as punishment and Mordecai (Esther’s Jewish uncle) took his role of responsibility in the kingdom.
It sounds like a happily ever after, but Esther had no idea it would end up that way. In fact, she walked right into a situation that would almost certainly end her life. All Esther knew was the opportunity she had been given by the Lord to make a stand. She had every reason to fear and every reason to back down in an effort to protect herself. However, Esther knew something that a lot of us forget. Esther had access to the most dominant superpower of all. Esther had the Lord on her side.
Just like superheroes, we have access to groundbreaking and outcome-changing power. As believers, we are completely connected to the power of God, which is greater than any power a superhero could ever possess. We have an unfailing power that our trust and strength can rely on when we are afraid. When we rely on Jesus to be courageous and do the right thing, He promises to care for us and use us as participants in building His Kingdom. His Kingdom that we are blessed enough to call out ultimate home. He promises to be with us, always.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
How can we be brave? Ask the Lord where the opportunities are around you to be courageous and make a difference. Then, stand up for what is right; trust His power within you, and walk obediently in faith. His is the same power that created the universe and rose Jesus up from the dead! It will not fail. And it is the superpower that you have access to every moment of every day. Go get it, Kampers! You were made for a time such as this.