J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “courage is found in unlikely places.”

That’s what we find in the story of Esther. Hers was not a “commander of an army” type courage. Nor one accompanied by physical strength and stamina.

Her courage was a quiet, “I’ll risk my life for my people” type of courage.

Esther had been queen for about three years before she had the test of a lifetime. Haman, second in command of Susa, had devised an evil plan to destroy all Jews throughout the kingdom and convinced King Xerxes to sign it into law.

Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, challenged her to step in and use her position to change this course of action. A task not easily done.

There was no knocking on his door to ask a question. She had to be invited. And thirty days had passed since Esther had been summoned by the king. Approaching him without an invitation was against the law. However, she risked her life for her people. Her response to Mordecai must have been a chilling one.

When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16.

How do we prepare for courage?

I believe several things contributed to her courage, and ultimate victory, to make such a bold move.

Even before this time, God had prepared Esther for that critical moment.

  • She was adopted by Mordecai who treated her like his own daughter. He taught her that God was always in control.
  • She was one of the virgins chosen as a potential queen, winning the favor of Hegai, the king’s eunuch and overseer of the king’s harem. He even moved Esther and her maids to the best place in the harem.
  • Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.
  • She won the king’s favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.
  • She had an accountability partner. Mordecai challenged her to do the right thing.
  • Esther reported an assassination plot to take out the king.
  • Before she acted, she called on people to fast and pray, putting her faith in God first.

After being seized from her cousin to become the possession of a cruel king, Esther could have become bitter. Instead, she demonstrated courage, patience and wisdom. She did this not only in her gracious appeal to the king, but through offering a solution that gave the Jews the chance to survive.

And that is the way with us, too. Sometimes our trials springboard us to a place of courage and boldness. God also prepares us for our “moment” through a consistent, everyday walk with Him. Obedience in the “little things” could be just what gets us through that next obstacle.

What do we do with the sting of pain?

Life is hard. Difficult times happen. Pain will come. When it does, do we turn TO God or FROM Him?

You may be thinking, “I do not have the courage of Esther.” But consider this. Esther took one step at a time, allowing her trials to shape her into a courageous young woman.

She didn’t settle for less than God’s plan for her. She strove for the best, whether she suffered for it or not.

And we can too. We CAN find the courage when courage seems in short supply. We CAN pray boldly and act boldly. We CAN live in victory.

Do you have a decision to make? A plan to implement. How has God prepared you to be bold? Draw upon those experiences that have made you into who you are today and take courage in your moment of decision.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7