So we are halfway through the year of our theme of Fearless. Maybe you have really embraced the theme so far. Or maybe you haven’t even thought about our theme this year.
Either way, let me share with you a story that has challenged me this year to be fearless.
It’s about a young woman: a normal, everyday teenage girl who was called to save an entire nation. Her name isn’t Joan of Arc.
Esther was a beautiful young Jewish teenager who married the king, King Xerxes to be specific (You may have heard of him in your world history class). And even though she was the queen, if she came into the king’s throne room without permission, she would be killed immediately.
Now Xerxes had an official advisor who hated the Jews. He hated the Jews so much, he convinced Xerxes to send an official decree that all Jewish people in the empire be killed.
So one of Esther’s uncles came to the palace begging her to stand up to the king to save her people. Esther told her uncle how dangerous it was to even approach the king that it would mean risking her own life just to go to the king’s throne.
Then her uncle dropped a bomb of truth into her life. He said, “Who knows but for that it was for a time like this that you obtained the royal dignity?” (Esther 4:14) Translated into more modern English “Don’t you see, this is why you became queen, so you could save us?” So she responded, “I will go to the King . . . if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16)
Preparing herself to face the king, she prayed. She asked God “Give me courage” (Esther C:23), “Put in my mouth persuasive words” (Esther C:24). She went to the King unannounced, and instead of being killed, she was welcomed and comforted by the king. Ultimately, the king revoked the order he had given and instead of the Jews being killed, the man who plotted their death died instead.
Esther’s life is a challenge to be fearless. She had a choice to either stay comfortable in the life she was living or risk it all to save thousands of people. In a very real way, we have the same challenge.
God may not have made us king or queen, but God has placed us in a particular family, in a particular school, at a particular parish with a particular group of friends. It is no accident. And we have been called to save our people; to share with them the truth of God’s love, the reality of sin, the freedom found being a member of His Church.
And it is not just people’s lives that are at stake, it is their eternity.
Now, I’m not saying to go up to every person you meet every day and preach to them, but I am saying, when the opportunity arises for us to stand up for the truth, we need to do it. When someone is gossiping or planning to get drunk at a party, we have to say something. When someone is thinking about skipping Mass or cheating on a test, it is our duty to loving tell them what they are doing is wrong.
And we cannot just hope we will have the courage to say something, and just hope our words will be received well. Like Esther, we have to pray.
We have to pray that God make us courageous in standing up for the truth and that God give us the words that will persuade people not to sin, but to live in the truth.
So I invite you to pray for fearlessness today.
Pray that as you go back to school, God would put you in positions to speak the truth to your friends and classmates. Pray that you would have the courage to speak truth and for your words to be received. Pray to Esther, one our Old Testaments saints.
And know that everyone at Life Teen, including me is praying for you, too.