“My name is Esther, Queen of Persia. Most people hear my title and think, ‘She must be the luckiest woman in the world. She’s a real rags to riches story, from Jewish orphan to Queen of the Empire.’ They see the luxury, the wealth, and the servants, but they have no idea what goes on inside my house or my heart.
It’s true, I am an orphan. Although my Uncle Mordecai loved me and raised me like his own daughter, I have always dreamed of finding love and having a real family of my own. However, when I came of age, I found out I would have no choices in my life. Xerxes, the King of Persia, banished his queen and was looking for a replacement. I was taken from my home to become part of a harem from which he would choose a new queen. Though I won the contest, I wonder about the prize.
I am married to a man who doesn’t love me or even know me. He doesn’t even know I am a Jew. My life is lonely. I can only see the king when he calls for me. I am married to a man who makes his decisions based on his hot temper and the advice of wicked men. Every day I live with the fact that I could be the next queen banished.
Now I am in a dreadful situation. One of the king’s most wicked advisors, Haman, passed a decree that all Jews be annihilated on a certain day. My husband, the king, approved it.
Mordecai says that this is the reason that God placed me here–to save our people. But I am afraid. Can I trust God to protect me? He’s let some very hard things happen in my life. Will He turn the king’s heart? Will the king kill me before I can talk to him? If he’s in a bad mood will he even care what I say? Will God help me if I follow His plan for my life?”
These must have been just a few of the questions that raced through Esther’s mind as she made her decision to either do what God was asking her to do or give in to her fear. She had legitimate reasons to be afraid. Given her past, any trust issues that she had were understandable. She had a tough choice. Should she risk her life to follow God?
The Bible tells of another group of people who had a choice similar to Esther’s. Numbers 13 tells the story of the 10 spies who went to survey the land of Canaan. These men were leaders in Israel who knew God’s will was to take the people of Israel into the Promised Land. They lived the miracles God did in Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea. They should have known God was true to His Word and would take care of His people. But when they went to survey the land, they were completely overcome with fear. The giants and the walled cities overshadowed the beauty of the land. When they returned to give their report, they had a choice. Would they trust God and encourage the people to follow God’s plan or would they bow to fear?
Unfortunately, the spies chose to follow fear. When they returned to the camp, their report scared the people to death. Because they chose to follow their fear, an entire nation rebelled against God and was forced to wander for 40 years in the desert. As for the 10 spies whose fear kept them from following God, they were killed by God the day they cited the rebellion.
Esther made a better choice than the ten spies. Esther chose to trust God and walk in the path that He chose for her. Instead of following fear, she chose prayer. She and her maids fasted and prayed as well as Mordecai and all the Jewish people. She knew that she could never do this on her own. Then she faced her fear and chose to follow God and do what He wanted.
Esther went before the king and made an appeal for her people.
She did what God wanted and He took care of her.
God used her courageous step of faith to save an entire nation. God made sure Esther was not killed. Rather, God made her situation better.
In the course of events, Haman was hung and Mordecai was appointed as 2nd in command to the king. Esther was no longer at the mercy of her hot-tempered husband and his evil advisor. She was under Mordecai who loved her and followed God’s laws. Esther overcame her fear and trusted God, and He came through for her.
In these two stories, we see 2 different choices and 2 different outcomes.
The spies had every reason to trust God; Esther had every reason to doubt.
The spies chose to follow fear and disobey God, Esther choice to overcome fear and obey God.
The spies died. Esther lived.
Esther saved her people; the spies destroyed an entire generation of their people.
The choice of whether to follow God’s will for our lives or follow fear is a choice each of us will face at different times in our lives. The other day I was talking to my family about a time when God wanted us to make some really big changes. We went through a crisis that seemed to affect every part of our lives. During this time, God wanted us to make major life changes.
While we were talking, I began telling them how desperately afraid I was at that time. I wondered how we would ever do what God was asking us to do? How would we make it?
Would our lives ever be good again?
As we were talking I realized that my first reaction to anything new is fear. What is going to happen? The bigger the challenge, the more paralyzing the fear.
Because of this, I will not tell anyone that fear is a sin. I think that in many instances fear is normal. However, we cannot choose to stay there. Fear always brings a choice.
Will I allow this fear to keep me from following God’s will for my life, or will I keep following God despite the fear?
In my life, I have chosen to follow God one step, one hour, one day at a time. He has helped me through the times that I was afraid, and later I have looked back and been thankful for the changes that He orchestrated.
There is a line in an old John Schlitt song that says, “Everyday you face the fear with the measure of strength that you need, and even now all Heaven cheers for the miracle you’re destined to be.” I love those lyrics. They are so honest.
Sometimes life is downright frightening and it is hard to believe that God is asking us to walk the path He’s chosen for us. I’m sure that Esther felt that way. Those lyrics sum up what we need to do. We need to face the fear, pray for God’s help and then follow God.
Many times in my life, I have looked at the path God is leading me on and thought, “This is crazy!” I start to panic and be afraid.
That’s when the choice comes, do I give into fear and run helter skelter trying to take care of myself or do I keep obeying God?
It’s the same choice that the 10 spies and Esther had to make. I want to follow Esther’s example and overcome fear and follow God. I choose to believe that He has a plan and a purpose for me, just as He did for Esther. Each of you will have the same choice. I hope that you will choose to follow Esther’s example. You can choose to overcome fear and follow God.
As you make your choice remember His promises:
Isaiah 43:1- 2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”