Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing the right thing in the presence of fear.
In the book of Esther, we see the courage of a young Jewish queen who faced a desperate crisis. The evil official, Haman, had obtained King Xerxes’s approval to annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom. Imagine! An entire people! The times were desperate. Jews throughout the empire wept, fasted, and cried out to God. Mordecai, who raised Queen Esther, got word to her of the looming genocide and asked her to go to the king and beg for mercy, but there was a gigantic obstacle. No one could approach the king unless summoned, or they would be executed. Moreover, the king was volatile and hotheaded, as the last queen learned the hard way.
What would you have done? You are in your early twenties, a queen of the vast Persian Empire, and you face a crisis that could cost you your life. Mordecai challenges her:
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Est. 4:14)
Esther’s reply is a classic in the annals of courage:
Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My young women and I 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. (Est. 4:16)
There was a real possibility that Esther could die, but Esther decided to take the risk.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing the right thing despite the presence of fear.
Perhaps you are in a fearful situation right now. Maybe God is calling you to trust Him for your job, your wayward teenager, or for a health crisis. Perhaps God is calling you to obey Him with sexual purity, with faithfulness to your marriage vows, with your giving, or with confronting an addiction. Maybe God is calling you to share your faith with a coworker, start a ministry, challenge someone, get help for an addiction, or join a small group at your church. Like Esther, will you decide to act courageously, despite your fears? Will you say with Esther, “If I perish, I perish?”