Facing Our Fears

Haman was going to kill all the Jews.  Only the Queen could save them.  But Queen Esther was scared to approach the king. How could her uncle Mordecai help her feel brave again?

Reading: Esther 4:10-17

The following story was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Story Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. The book is now out of print but can be read for free online.

THE TERROR BY NIGHT

In some parts of Canada, where the country is still thinly settled by people, wild animals are quite numerous. In one of these communities there once lived a boy who was in the village late one night. He had been at the village-store, and had heard the men talking about a wildcat that had been seen in that neighbourhood a short time before.

The boy was not a coward, but when he started for his home, three miles away, in the country, he was nervous. Nothing happened, however, until he was climbing over a set of bars at the end of a lane leading through a piece of woods near his home. Then he heard the bushes moving and twigs crackling under the feet of some animal the other side of the lane-fence. He thought of the wildcat. He jumped to the ground, picked up a heavy stick he had seen under a tree on his way through that day and listened. Nearer and nearer came the rustling of the bushes, and every little while he could hear an animal sniff the air. Finally it came to the fence, clambered up opposite him. The boy raised his club and waited, and when the animal jumped down beside him, its eyes shining in the darkness, he struck with all his might. Off the beast went into the darkness. All was silence again, and the boy stood listening and trembling. Then from the top of a nearby hill he heard a dog howl with pain. He found, next morning, that it was only a neighbour’s dog that had frightened him so.

That boy is not the only one who has seen things mistakenly, just because he was afraid. If you are dreading something, you will think that everything that happens brings the thing you dread. Usually nothing happens at all. The trouble was only in the person’s mind, just as that wildcat was in the boy’s mind, and so every noise he could not explain was a wildcat.

I am sure David must have known something about that fear when, as a boy, he watched his sheep out on the lonely hills at night. But David learned that there was One who was able to protect him by night as well as by day. It was God. And so he wrote of God: “He that keepeth thee will not slumber. God is thy keeper. God is thy shade upon thy right hand. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; for the pestilence that walketh in darkness…. It shall not come nigh thee.”

Let us remember that no real harm can come to us unless it comes from within ourselves. God is our protector. In His love we can trust by day, and in His care we can lay us down to sleep at night without a fear.

For Further Study:

  • Think of these Bible characters and the special things they did. Were they ever afraid? What would have happened if they had been too afraid to do what God needed them to do?

v Abraham (Genesis 12, 22)

v Moses’ parents (Exodus 2)

v David’s best friend Jonathan (1 Samuel 18)

v Mary & Joseph (Matthew 2:13-17)

v Stephen (Acts 7-8)

  • Esther fasted and prayed before she went to the king. Do some research in your Bible on fasting. When did people do it? How did it help them?

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