The Brave and the Beautiful

The inner beauty of Queen Esther.

Priscilla leads the Women's Ministries Department at her local church. She and her retired husband have two married daughters and one grandson.

When I was a little girl, I used to dress up in my mother's clothes. I would put her shoes on my feet, her handbag on my arm, her gloves on my hands and her hat on my head. Then I would pose in front of the mirror. In my mind I would say, "I look just like Mommy."

I thought my mother was beautiful She was my role model and I wanted to be just like her. Like everyone else, I was beauty conscious and wanted to be pretty. Fortunately, as I grew into a young woman, my dear mother instilled in my head the verses of 1 Peter 3:3, 4. "'Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

We spend too much time in front of mirrors, checking out our hair, smoothing our clothes, making sure the cuffs and collars are straight and hems and lapels are in place. We check out our fronts, sides and backs. Others, however, check us from yet another angle. If we reflect Jesus, they will remember that rather than our outward appearance.

Women desire to be beautiful. Beauty delights the human's eyes. However, physical beauty may be only skin deep. It may cover ugliness, spitefulness and ill'tempers. Still, in our world, we too often judge a book by its cover. Consequently, billions are spent in search of beauty. This search spans centuries and continents.

The Bible tells us of a beauty queen. She was described as fair and beautiful. She was a captive, brought against her will from her homeland. Still, her spirit was not subdued. She had been left an orphan and reared by her uncle. Her name meant "star" but stardom did not come easily for her. Life was difficult, yet she remained true and faithful to the God in Heaven. Esther was someone who was beautiful for she exuded love.

Her uncle, Mordecai, was the most influential person in her life. He gave her spiritual training, counsel and direction. He challenged her as a child and his teachings helped her face the many difficulties she encountered as an adult.

Even during Esther's time, women were given skin purifiers, lotions, moisturizers and oils so they could look their best. For twelve months, their skin was pampered so they would look beautiful when they were presented to the king. They could ask for whatever they needed and they always seemed to want more. All except Esther, that is. She did not ask for more. She had beauty without and within.

The king loved Esther above all women and she obtained grace and favor in his sight. So the king set the royal crown upon Esther's head and she replaced Queen Vashti.

Even becoming a queen was not easy for Esther. No one knew she was Jewish. She was surrounded by intrigue and hatred! Haman, a top official of the king, hated Jews and got the king to make a decree stating all Jews were to be killed. Esther knew her people's lives were in danger and she knew she had to do something.

Can you imagine the emotions going through Esther? What would you do if you were in her situation?

Though Esther was a queen, she remained humble and sought advice from Mordecai. He told her, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther was cautious and tactful. Mordecai could trust her discretion for he knew Esther was a God-fearing person. She fasted and prayed for her people. Her faith and trust were firmly grounded and she had confidence that the Lord would not forsake her. She said, "And I will go unto the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish." What courage!

Why do you think Esther was willing to risk her life? She was a woman who had strength of character. She was willing to take risks and act courageously, not fearing for herself.

Esther was more than just a pretty face. She was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. She met Haman's hatred with kindness. She was patient, peaceful and kind. She had the kind of beauty that lasts forever and can come from no cream or lotion. Esther's beauty was a reflection of her devotion to God. She cared not what the world thought of her, but rather followed her beliefs and put her priorities in order.

Beauty is more than skin deep. The time spent in trying to find that fountain of youth can be better spent getting to know God as our personal Savior. May we all be beautiful and brave in Christ Jesus.