Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.
Devotion by Laurie Spencer
I wanted to find modern day Esthers. Those people who speak up to save their people. Esther’s example has rippled through generations and affected the hearts of brave people throughout time who have stepped up to the plate to right wrongs and save their people from harm. In Esther’s case, Hamen wanted to kill her people, the Jews. Esther found the courage to speak up and ask the king for her safety and for that of her people.
Right away I thought of activist Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot on a bus by a Taliban gunman in 2012 after having taken a school exam. Malala became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, known for her advocacy in the area of education of women and children. When I was reading about Malala I learned that there was another Nobel laureate named that same day.
Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian man who learned as a grade school student of the sad realities of class distinction in his country. It bothered him that he and his friends were able to attend school while a poor cobbler’s son stood out on the street watching the fortunate kids entering the school building. Kailash rode a wave of empathy which first led him to collect used school books and start a lending library for poor children. Though he went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering, his gift of empathy guided his life. By the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize Kailash and his organization were credited with liberating more than 87,000 children in India from child labor, slavery and trafficking as well as contributing to the development of international conventions on the rights of children.
Thanks be to God there are people like Malala and Kailash working in this world to lift up hopeless, danger-filled lives. Can you think of your own examples of modern day Esthers?
Father, Mother God, loving me, help me to act on the gifts you have given me, to use courage to speak up for those around me in need. Amen.