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Courage Is Doing the Right Thing Scared

The story of Esther is a powerful one because it reminds us that God’s light always shines in the darkness—and that He can use you to be that light.

Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle tree.” But the Persians renamed her, Esther, which means “little star.” And like a star, she shone brightly against the dark circumstances of her life.

Esther was a Jewish exile. The Babylonians had toppled Jerusalem before she was born and sent all her people away to Babylon. Then the Persians came along and toppled the Babylonian empire, and Esther’s family ended up in Susa, the center of Persia’s political power.

At some point in Esther’s young life, she lost her parents. There she was, an orphan, a refugee, a heartbroken child—dark circumstances swirled around her. But God was there. He had never left.

Perhaps dark circumstances are swirling around your life today. Maybe it’s the darkness of sickness or death or unbelief. Perhaps someone you love has left or is struggling terribly and you don’t know how to help.

God is there, friend. He has never left.

And in the life of Esther, “little star” Esther, God began to shine—through her. Her relative Mordecai adopted her. Later, the king chose her to be his wife. That little orphaned refugee was suddenly queen of the most dominant world power of the day.

But then darkness swirled again. Haman, who hated Mordecai by extension all the Jews, plotted her people’s destruction. She could ask for her husband’s help, but to do so was terrifying.

Esther knew that to appear before the king without being summoned by him was punishable by death—even for the queen—unless he extended mercy. It would take great courage to do what she knew God wanted her to do.

In that moment, Esther had a choice. She was scared. Frightened out of her mind. Fainting with fear because darkness was everywhere. But Mordecai encouraged her to use the opportunity she’d been given to make a difference.

So she sought God’s face, praying and fasting. And then she went before the king—petrified.

And that little star shined. God shone so brightly through Esther’s obedience that all her people were saved, and her wicked enemy, Haman, received the justice he deserved. Jews around the world celebrate that incredible deliverance to this day during Purim.

But the deliverance didn’t come through a brave, swashbuckling hero. It came through a woman who was all too familiar with dark circumstances but was willing to have faith in God—even if it cost her life.

Most people think that courage is not being scared. But it’s not. Courage is doing the right thing scared. 

And when God calls you to do something you’re scared of, He will give you the courage you need. Because you don’t need all the courage in the world to obey—you just need enough. He will give you enough.

Faith is taking the courage God gives you and doing something brave without wanting to. It’s stepping forward with a sense of destiny that says, “I was created for just such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Faith is also believing God when He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Faith doesn’t say, “Courage is with me,” but rather, “God is with me”—even… especially… when your courage is nowhere to be found.

Darkness swirls around all of us at one point or another in life. And when it does, you have a choice: Will you allow fear to dictate your actions? Or let Christ direct you into His will?

Esther chose to do the right thing scared. And when you do too, God will shine through you. You’ll burn like a star in the darkness and draw others who are frightened to Him.