Faith Over Fear
Yael Eckstein | March 6, 2020
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. — Esther 5:1-2
During this month, I’m sharing with you weekly devotions based on my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on the Legacy of Faith to Our Children. These devotions are tied to the festival of Purim, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of courageous Queen Esther. Purim is celebrated at sundown March 9 to sundown March 10.
Growing up, my parents were well aware that they were raising three girls who would become women in a world that tends to give men the advantage. It was their priority to instill within us the confidence that we were capable of accomplishing any task God called us to. They taught us that every tool and talent we would ever need to accomplish His work was already within us.
As a lifelong champion of women, my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, felt particularly connected to the holiday of Purim, when we celebrate Queen Esther, the heroine who saved the Jews of her time. Although she struggled with confidence in her ability to bring about salvation, she put aside her fears and persevered, saving her people and the Jewish faith, and ultimately, changing history.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that there is something more important than fear.” In the Purim story, Esther is a shining example of courage mainly because she was also the victim of intense fear and self-doubt.
When confronted with the task of saving the Jews, Esther’s immediate reaction was to reject it because she knew her very life was at stake for approaching the king without first being summoned. However, once Mordecai made his case, Esther rose to the occasion and proclaimed, “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). In that moment, she realized that there was something much larger at stake — the very life and continuity of the entire Jewish nation. I can only imagine how Esther felt when she approached the king with her life on the line, but she did so anyway, in spite of her fears.
Friends, if we are to overcome the challenges in our lives, like Esther, our faith must be bigger than our fear. The only way we can do that is through God, with Him at our side. As my father taught me, “He who fears One, fears none.” Or as King David beautifully wrote, “I will fear no evil for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).
If God give us the burdens, He will bring us through them.
Want to know more about Purim and the lessons we can pass on to the next generation from Queen Esther’s story? Visit generationbook.org to learn more about my new book!