Emotional Strength

Esther was a Jewish girl living in exile with her uncle, Mordecai, in Persia. They were part of a close knit traditional Jewish community. King Ahasuerus had banished his queen, Vashti from ever appearing before him again because she had refused to appear before him when he summonsed her. His advisors had told him to get another, better queen in her place. Hence, there had been a call for beautiful young virgins to be sought for the king. Officers were appointed to look for these young women, “to be gathered”. It was not voluntary at all. So these girls were brought to the palace and given beauty treatments for a year and probably taught court protocol etc. Esther was one of these girls. Her uncle had told her not to reveal her heritage or her family.

Imagine this: Here is this teenager, all alone. Between many people but still all alone. She couldn’t tell anyone anything personal about herself because it might give away her background. She could not confide in anyone at all. Basically her whole world had changed in the blink of an eye.

Could you handle that? What if, one morning, you woke up in a strange place you’ve never seen before and you have absolutely no contact with the outside world. You have no way of going back to where you came from and you have no way of contacting anyone you know. No phones. No TV, no social media. Nothing. Nothing is familiar at all. You are like Esther. She was thrown into the king’s harem. You have been thrown into some strange world where you know nobody. You don’t even know if there are other people and if you would be able to speak their language if there were.

Let us assume that you are an expert in survival and that defending yourself and finding food and shelter won’t be a problem. Your physical needs won’t be a problem. Just like Esther. She had food and a nice place to stay, seven handmaidens to serve her and eunuchs entrusted with her care. She had no physical needs but her emotional needs were not taken care of at all.Are you strong enough emotionally to adjust to a sudden and drastic change of environment? Will you be able to function without messaging or calling the people you rely on? Will you be able to function without the people around you that you? Are there loved ones that you feel you cannot live without? Is there support system that you rely very heavily on? What about that friend or family member that you can always call when you can’t cope won’t be available now. No inspirational messages or podcasts that can keep you going. No escape from reality by surfing social media or watching videos. Your favourite coffee isn’t even available! If you think about the TV series, Survivor, the greatest problems the contestants face aren’t physical. Their biggest problems are emotional. If they aren’t emotionally strong they can’t handle the pressure.

How do you become emotionally strong? By putting all your trust in something.

I found a website which has 7 characteristic of emotionally strong people. (www.psychologytoday.com) I added an eighth one to the list.

  1. Are less discouraged about setbacks and disappointments
  2. Are more adaptable to change
  3. Are able to recognize and express their needs
  4. Focus on getting around a hurdle rather than on the hurdle itself
  5. Can learn from mistakes and criticism
  6. Be able to recover more quickly from emotional wounds such as failure or rejection
  7. Tend to see the larger perspective in a challenging situation
  8. Know who they are


I find this very interesting because these are characteristics of Jesus.

  1. Are less discouraged about setbacks and disappointments

When Jesus was faced with the news that his friend Lazarus was dead, The Bible says, Jesus wept, which proves once again that He was 100% mortal, but He didn’t fall into depression. He went to the tomb and faced the problem head on. He didn’t allow people to discourage Him.

John 11:39-40, Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Then he proceeded to call Lazarus out of the tomb and he came out alive.

  1. Are more adaptable to change

When Jesus was a child and went with his parents to the Passover feast in Jerusalem, He didn’t let the strange surroundings phase Him at all. He went to the temple and spoke to the teachers who were there.

Luke 2:48-49, So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

He was adaptable to any situation and spoke as easily to the teachers and rabbi’s as he did to the simple fishermen who were to become his disciples. He was also equally at home with tax collectors and prostitutes.

  1. Are able to recognize and express their needs

Jesus knew exactly what His needs were and He did express them. He never pretended to be okay when He was tired and in need of rest.

Luke 5:16, So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Matthew 14:22-23, Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.

Jesus knew when He was tired and needed to rest or needed to be alone to pray. He didn’t pretend everything was okay when it wasn’t.

  1. Focus on getting around a hurdle rather than on the hurdle itself.

Jesus was confronted with the problem of the women caught in adultery. He never spoke about the adultery (which was the problem.) He never quoted the law.

Leviticus 20:10, The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

He got solved the problem by going around it.

John 8:7, So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

  1. Can learn from mistakes and criticism

Jesus was perfect and He didn’t make mistakes. But He taught us what to do.  There was a storm and Jesus was lying in the bottom of the boat sleeping, and the disciples were having a panic attack about the boat that was going to sink. They woke Jesus up and He calmed the storm.

Mark 4:40, But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?

Jesus teaches us that we have to have faith. It was a mistake to be fearful.

And what about when people criticise us:

Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

We are called to love people and not to retaliate in the same way that we are attacked. We are not allowed to take criticism personally.

  1. Tend to see the larger perspective in a challenging situation

When Jesus appeared before Herod and Pilate He never defended Himself because He saw the bigger picture. He knew that by dying He would be saving you and me from eternal damnation. He knew that the suffering would be temporary. He didn’t react or retaliate when the soldiers mocked Him and spat on Him and beat Him. He saw Kingdom value in an earthly situation.

  1. Are able to recover more quickly from emotional wounds such as failure or rejection.

Once again, Jesus never failed, but He was rejected in Nazareth, His home town.

Luke 4:22-30, So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

We have to walk away from criticism that is undeserved. If it is constructive then we can learn from it, otherwise we just walk away from it.

A lot of disciples left Jesus because of His teaching regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood in John 6:41-71. He did not let this blow Him off course at all.

John 6:67, Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

8.  Know who you are

Esther knew her identity. She was a Jew and even though she was married to a heathen king, she never forgot who she was and that her life had purpose. Her purpose was to save the Jews from certain death.

Likewise we have to know our identity. We have been redeemed at a price. We have been bought with the blood of Jesus and even though we live in a world full of sin, we have purpose. Our purpose is to carry out the Gospel so that we can save our brothers and sisters form certain death.

We need to become more and more like Jesus by reading the Word and by having a relationship with God so that we can be emotionally strong enough to stand up against the pressures of the world. We need to be there for one another, and support each other instead of tearing each other down. And we need to be thoroughly prepared for a time when we only have the Lord to rely on. God is certainly the only on we can rely on 100%. People disappoint us, reject us and even die on us when we need them.

Joshua 1:5,  No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5-6, Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

We will always, always be able to trust Him and take Him at His word. Nothing is impossible with God. Put all your troubles at the foot of the cross, and start trusting Him with your whole being so that you can be left standing when everything falls apart around you.

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