Lessons from Esther: Becoming Somebody’s Hero

Mordecai sent this answer back to Queen Esther: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house that you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14 NIV)

Last week we looked at various pretty obvious heroes that inspire us—like Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who successfully crash-landed his plane in the Hudson River or Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the US Medal of Honor for the risks he took as a young medic to save lives during the battle for Okinawa.

But the truth of the matter is that few of us have such huge opportunities to put our lives on the line in order to save others. How could the rest of us, solidly rooted in ordinary life, become a hero? How can we who seldom are faced with life and death situations rescue others?

In the above passage, Mordecai told his young cousin that she may have been put in her royal position “for such a time as this.” He challenged her to understand that she might have been divinely placed in the right place at the right time to rescue her people – the Jews.

Though we may not face life-threatening situations, we may also be placed in the right place at the right time. We may not be aware of it. The next conversation you have with someone might be a life changer without you realizing it. A friend of mine recently got a card from a young man named John. This card strongly thanked him for helping him keep his faith in God at a critical time when he was a high school student.

The friend who helped John had heard that the student was going through a crisis of faith. He offered to get together to listen to the student’s questions. After listening, he suggested a couple of books to read that dealt with these doubts head on. Two such books were The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, both by Lee Strobel, a former atheist journalist.

My friend only met with this student perhaps three times at most. But he showed no shock at the student’s doubts. He didn’t attack John’s thinking as foolish or scold the student for not having faith. He affirmed God’s invitation, “Come now, let us reason together…” Isaiah 1:18. This gave the student a lot of room to explore these questions and find out that there were solid answer to help back up the Christian faith.

John’s thank you note was written on the back of a newsletter from his recent summer missionary trip. Not only did he keep his faith, but he was now in a position to share it with others. Who knows how many lives were touched by my friend’s willingness to step up “for such a time as this”?

Another woman friend I know had a similar note from a young woman who thanked her for convincing her not to abort her baby and told her about her beautiful seven-year-old boy and the joy he was in her life. The young woman had showed up on my friend’s doorstep one evening. It was clear that she was upset, so my friend invited her in for coffee and conversation.

The woman had just found out she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. She had gotten pregnant on a one night stand and her date had offered her the money to abort the baby. Having been raised in a church, she just didn’t feel right about that but she felt trapped. She was a first-year teacher back in the day when single pregnant teachers were a scandal.

My friend didn’t know exactly what to say. She was pretty overwhelmed at the young woman’s dilemma. But she put her arm around this young woman and told her, “I believe that God will honor you if you protect life rather than kill it.”

They discussed what practical steps to take in the days ahead if the young lady chose life. And my friend provided her with support and encouragement as she went through this tough time in her life. Surprisingly (almost miraculously), the school board gave her a maternity leave and she continued teaching in that district as a single mom for many years.

Both of my friends were surprised to learn that they were viewed as life savers. Each had simply responded to the situation with a sympathetic ear, a kind word, advice from the Bible and the belief that God would help these young people if they turned to Him. By doing these simple things, they became heroes and helped change the direction of somebody else’s life.

Do you realize that you might be the hero that someone needs today? God may have you at a certain place or in a certain relationship “for such a time as this.” Your thoughtfulness toward others, your acceptance and grace can pave the way for someone to open up about his/her need. It is amazing how many people are at a crossroad in life, wondering which way to go. May I encourage you to step up in the situation and say these simple words, “You seem upset, is there any way I can be of help? Would you like to talk about it?”

This hardly seems heroic in the standard way we picture this word. But when you help someone follow God, these words can change the eternal destiny of a fellow human being who is well loved by God.

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