when election day looms

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

November 5, 2012

election day

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. ~Psalm 25:1 (NIV)

We stopped at a dingy dive somewhere along the Illinois River where a group of locals played cards at a back table. My husband ordered a fish sandwich, and even he who can eat everything could not stomach the huge hunk of fried carp slapped between two slices of white bread. But another in our group had no problem downing it in addition to his own along with a bottle of “sodie.”

We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

It was over 30 years ago, and we’d been going door-to-door in the country distributing campaign literature, answering questions about our presidential candidate, and getting chased by surly dogs.

We had a blast.

This was back when we lived in Springfield, Illinois, for all of six months. My husband traveled, and we did not belong to a church, so to keep myself busy I walked into the storefront-converted-to-campaign headquarters and offered to help. After I grumbled about a couple of processes, Brent tapped me to be the volunteer coordinator.

Those few weeks are some of my most memorable, though if I could do it over again, I’d probably have labored for and voted for the other guy. But I worked with what I knew and believed at the time.

Since then I’ve become much more private about who will get my vote. And right now I’m even cringing as my husband replaces his signs that were stolen not 24 hours after he initially staked them in.

I admire anyone who dares to pursue political office and subject themselves to just and unjust scrutiny. To have their personal and professional lives splayed out for public view. To choose to turn gray before their time.

I admire anyone who dares to respectfully discuss the issues or voice an opinion. To subject themselves to judgement or ridicule or personal and even physical attacks.

In an election year, we have to wade through promises and proposals, and civil discussion can be a challenge. And sometimes we forget the person behind their preference.

Politics can be polarizing and painful.

The truth is that nobody has all the answers to the uncertainty and fear that threaten to smother us.

Nobody has the power to control circumstances.

We can’t build our hopes on a person or a party or a platform.

All we can do is bathe the whole process in prayer and make the best choice we can in light of our understanding–to then honor each other as we choose our next earthly leader.

And give thanks that we have that opportunity.

Our pastor doesn’t bring politics to the pulpit. He doesn’t push us to vote a certain way. He doesn’t believe in doing that.

But yesterday morning he did encourage us to vote–and to have fun doing it.

To have a blast as we celebrate our ability to choose.

And he quoted this wisdom from John Wesley, words that have been circulating on the internet.

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy:
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against:
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” ~John Wesley (10/16/1774)


election day

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. ~1 Timothy 2:1-3 (MSG)


  1. cherylsmith

    And amen!

  2. dukeslee

    Wise. Very wise. Thank you.

  3. S. Etole

    And more amen!

    • Sandra Heska King

      I’m glad no matter what “side” we’re on, we’re on the same Side.

  4. pastordt

    And I will happily quadruple that amen. It is a privilege to vote – either way we choose – and I will be glad to have the mudslinging and campaign scare tactics behind us. Thanks for this.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I know it. But it’ll all start again before we know it. I’ve already heard talk about 2016… Praying we can all do our civic duty in a civil manner and keep our ultimate focus on who’s really in charge.

  5. David Rupert

    A sensible approach as we see the day approaching (and hear the thundering hoofbeats!). Thanks for the good words

    • Sandra Heska King

      I don’t know how else to do it, David. All I can do is trust He’ll take our efforts to do our best and weave them into His ultimate purpose. No point in spinning ourselves out of control because everything appears out of control when we know who’s really in control.

  6. debra elramey

    This is different 😉 I’m sure you get my drift if you’ve been on FB within the past few months. It’s a dog eat dog scene.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I know. It’s crazy. And it’s not just on FB. I have solid Christ-following friends who lean in either direction for different reasons. Some have been defriended and hate messaged.

  7. SimplyDarlene

    to vote without fee or reward…

    how about to run the country without fee or reward? would our candidates still be the same?

    indeed, it’s a dog eat dog world, but it’s also a world in which we are called to exercise His holy standard the best we can.

    great image, too.


    • Sandra Heska King

      His holy standard as best we can. Yes.

      The president makes about $400,000 a year plus expenses. I’m thinking either of these candidates could make way more than that outside the office. It’d be interesting to see who would volunteer for the job. Not me. I’d be spending close to that much to cover my roots–or for a hair transplant from pulling it out. 😉

  8. Connie@raise your eyes

    “All we can do is bathe the whole process in prayer and make the best
    choice we can in light of our understanding–to then honor each other as
    we choose our next earthly leader.

    And give thanks that we have that opportunity.” Well said, wise lady.

    • Sandra Heska King

      In spite of all that’s wrong, there’s so much right, and I’m so grateful to live in this country.

  9. Charity Singleton

    Sandy – What a great reflection. Thank you for this. I voted last week “absentee” because I am currently several states away from home. I take voting really seriously, but I also feel very private about it, too. Unless I am asked in person by someone who really cares.

    • Sandra Heska King

      My husband always votes absentee because he never knows if he will be home when the polls are open. And we don’t always vote the same. 🙂


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when election day looms

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 3 min