I don't know about you, but these last few weeks (heck year) has left me extremely frustrated. Frustrated with the feeling of helplessness and inaction; daily questioning when will the madness end and what role I might play in this chaotic drama.
In my soul searching, I was reminded of an article I wrote many years ago and felt it was worth sharing again- a reminder and call to courage....
In 2005, my husband and I went on a mission trip to Zambia, Africa. On the final days of our journey, we took a side trip to Victoria Falls. Seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World was impressive; however, it wasn't the magnitude of the beautiful waterfalls that left the biggest impression on me; instead, it was my husband's courage.
For reasons I cannot explain, my husband decided he needed to face his dislike for heights and brave the “Gorge Swing” a 394-foot terrifying plummet (think Empire State Building) attached to a questionable bungee cord. Basically, you jump, hope the cable doesn’t break and you get the thrill of swinging back-in-forth (312 feet wide) in pendulum fashion before being lowered into the bottom of the gorge.
(What they don't mention on the front end is that you then have to climb out of the canyon and hope the baboons that live there don't attack you!)
I watched as my husband stood on the edge of a worn wooden platform and hesitantly took one step and then immediately disappeared from sight. Thankfully, he survived both the gorge swing and the baboons and I walked away with a new appreciation for what it looked like to conquer fear and step out courageously in faith.
His willingness to take that one courageous step reminded me of another ... Queen Esther.
The story of the Queen of Persia who faced death for stepping forward to beseech the king.
Now one might think that being Queen carried certain privileges and protections, but Esther had a secret…. she was Jewish during a time of grave persecution with her people facing mass extermination at the hands of an evil politician who had fooled the King into issuing an order of genocide!
Esther faced an impossible decision- remain silent and hope the King would never discover her secret or stand for truth and help her people.
If this was not challenging enough, no one was allowed to come into the King’s presence without an invitation as doing so meant immediate (no questions asked) death!
What to do? Every turn for Esther carried terrifying possibilities.
She finally decides:
"Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. 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
Some bold words - “If I perish, I perish.”
True heroism. She accepted that she was placed in her royal position “for just such a time as this” and didn’t allow fear or complacency to stand in her way!
Her security did not rest in her title, her possessions, or even her husband- her security rested in God.
She took that step of courage- called out an evil politician and saved her people.
What we can learn from both stories--
Fear leaves no room for courage; and
complacency leaves no room for change.
So, today I ask you-
Where are you complacent and lack courage?
~ Do you avoid openly admitting you are a Christian?
~ Are you afraid to take a conservative stand because of what others might think?
~ Do you go along with the popular because it is just easier?
~ Do you stay silent when injustices are done believing your voice doesn't matter?
~ Are you reluctant to accept Christ’s offer of salvation? (John 3:16)
~ Are you afraid to share your faith with others for fear of condemnation?
I know that it is easier to be silent, to go along with what’s popular and let others take a stand while you enjoy the safety of the sidelines.
But, friends- Edmund Burke was right:
“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
We all have a part to play in this drama- no matter how small or great.
Let's banish our complacency and accept the call to courage- trusting that God will have our backs every step or leap along the way!
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” ~ Psalm 118:6