“And if I perish, I perish.” NIV Esther 4:16.
Many historical strides were made by women during the month of August. On Aug 6th 1965 Voting Rights Act allowed Women’s Suffrage (granted from the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Aug 26, 1920) to fully extend to African American women who were being discriminated against. Aug 10th Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the 107th justice and 2nd woman to be sworn in the US Supreme Court. Another Aug 26th milestone in 1971 Rep Bella Abzug instituted the 1st Women’s Equality Day, which is annually reaffirmed by Presidential Proclamation.
According to the worldometer.info COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 152, 738 in America on this date. There are over 4 million cases in this country and 16 million worldwide with over 655,000 deaths. Fear of the unknown is high at this time. Many people worldwide are not only facing daily economic and social crises; but human, mental and emotional also. On Jan 1st 2020, who would ever envision we would experience such a challenging start to a such a promising new decade. However we are here. In this together, with the majority of us surviving, overcoming and/or battling the effects of this pandemic one way or another. Today I am dismayed for having lost my first relative to COVID-19. How I as many others looked forward to thriving -holding big hopes, diving into new dreams. We are now having to live this new unforeseeable normal with great strength and prodigious faith.
Similar to Esther. Esther born Hadassah, was a Jewish woman. She was chosen by the Persian King Ahasuerus to succeed Queen Vashti based on her beauty. Queen Esther saves her people through her fierce courageous faith. Telling Mordecai her older cousin, to inform the Jews to fast for her withholding food and drink for three days, she approached the king’s throne. Unrequested and most likely unwanted, Esther faced this illegality which could have meant her life. But the Lord favored Esther and the king found pleasure in her. In the end, Queen Esther after making a dinner for him and Haman shared a story that infuriated King Ahasuerus. So much so that Haman’s decree to destroy all Jewish people her people fell on him. Queen Esther having been offered most anything she wanted was gifted Haman’s death. This joyful unprecedented turn of events makes for fantastic stories or films but even more encouraging real life serious affairs. God can change anything around when you stay focused on the mission-His. Walk in faith over fear, trust over despair, selflessness instead of selfishness-God can use you as a blessing. Your life, your actions, your deeds, your words, your beauty (outer and inner) along with your strength can bring about great win for others.
To this day the story of Esther is celebrated during the feast of Purim. Jewish people read her story (called the Megillah) in synagogues. When Haman’s name is mentioned 54 times the congregation makes various noises to blot it out. We too must learn how to blot out discouragement, distraction, fear, intimidation, powerlessness, timidity and characteristics not of God. We must boldly stand for righteousness in humility to God to protect our people, weather His will and save many souls-including our own. By wearing masks, checking on the health of marginalized populations (elderly, sick, mentally challenged, handicapped, etc), building up our immune system (eating right and exercising safely), getting proper rest, disinfecting items, washing our hands,etc., social distancing, we show power. Control in what’s out of control and management. No we don’t shrink back in fear yet take the necessary precautionary steps to prepare to be a blessing. With our faith in God, and the strength coming from His Word we won’t worry about perishing. We will continue to advance, re-imagine our goals and walk on strong to our God determined destinies.
Concern (C): Sister, are you anxious about dying? The Bible says :”Since the children have flesh and blood, (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death –that is , the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” Heb 2:14-15
Encouragement (E): Live! Jesus sets us free. And we submit to his authority to stay in his pastures of freedom. When he died on the cross, for those of us who have believed, repented, confessed and were baptized- the power of death no longer has a sting on us. Just live in this truth!
Act (A): Queen Esther had ample reasons to fear for her people, status, enemies strategies and for her very life. However, imitating her commit it all into the hands of God. Our Father the Heavenly King will give us what we need to rise to every occasion. He will fulfill His every purpose in the span of our lives. “..for such a time as this”, Rise, Queen, Rise!
For Further Women’s History https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/events/august/
Dedicated in memory of my aunt Linda.