How did Esther find the strength to risk her life on behalf of her people?
She found it partly by broadening her perspective, remembering that God had given her specific missions to perform. Mordecai reminded her that she was in a unique position to help: “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
She also found it in a supportive community. Not only did she and her associates fast, but she asked Mordecai to have all the Jews in the city fast on her behalf. (See Esther 4:16.) Surely her awareness that she was not alone strengthened her resolve and enabled her to follow through.
In Lehi’s dream, many of the people who had arrived at the tree and begun to partake of the fruit (representing the love of God) became ashamed when they saw people across the river scoffing at them. “They did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed,” prioritizing the opinions of their detractors over their own spiritual experiences and the community they had become a part of. In contrast, there were many who drew strength from their shared experience. “We heeded them not,” Nephi wrote, suggesting that their sense of community strengthened their resolve (1 Nephi 8:25, 28).
Elder David A. Bednar asked a number of church members what helped them to “heed not” worldly influences. Here is his summary of the responses he received:
Valiant members often highlight the importance of inviting the power of the Holy Ghost into their lives through meaningful scripture study, fervent prayer, and proper preparation to participate in the ordinance of the sacrament. Also mentioned frequently are the spiritual support of faithful family members and trusted friends, the vital lessons learned through ministering and serving in the Lord’s restored Church, and the capacity to discern the absolute emptiness of anything in or coming from the great and spacious building.“But We Heeded Them Not,” General Conference, April 2022
President Thomas S. Monson said, “Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith. When firmly planted, your testimony of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that you do throughout your life… You are some of our Heavenly Father’s strongest children, and He has saved you to come to the earth ‘for such a time as this.’ With His help, you will have the courage to face whatever comes.” (“May You Have Courage,” General Conference, April 2009).
Today, I will strengthen my roots by remembering that God has missions for me to perform and by leaning on the combined strength of family, friends, and other believers. I will trust that an eternal perspective and a strong community can strengthen me to perform the work I am called upon to do.