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)
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)