Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast for my behalf,
and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.
I and my young women will also fast as you do.
Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
Esther 4:16 ESV
We have been discussing courage at our house and one thing is settled. Both Darryl and I want it and we are hoping to cultivate more of it.
I like the definition of courage as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary which says that courage is the ability to control fear in a dangerous or difficult situation. I need to expect, of course, that fear will be present in a dangerous situation and I certainly will feel it. The reality is, however, that I don’t need to succumb to it. If I control my fear it becomes a launching pad for courage and in a wild reversal—my courage becomes a game-changer—making me surprisingly unpredictable and sacrificial.
In a dangerous situation, there is a moment—however brief—of clarity in which to make an important decision. I describe it as a scale hanging in the balance. On one side is my life and my self-protective instincts. On the other side—weighing down the scale—lies the motivation to take the risk and be courageous. The motivation might be saving a life, or many lives, or defending someone or something I sincerely believe in—but the heaviness of the scale cannot be denied and I am motivated to step up, protect and defend.
What is important enough to die for—or at the very least to suffer for? If a person wraps their body around a grenade to save their companions, rest assured that decision has already been weighed in the balance. Queen Esther’s concern for her people outweighed her concern for her own fate, the scale tipped, her courage was launched and she took the plunge!
O Lord, free me from the domination of fear. Help me be more courageous daily and if I encounter a difficulty that lasts many days, sustain my courage so I do not shame Your name.