Today I voted. I will not say for who or what, but I exercised my civic duty. In recent months this “duty” has morphed into an “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” kind of attitude, a bit cynical, curmudgeonly (I just like the sound of that word!), and too much like my father. After voting, I took a friend to the doctor because he did not feel strong enough to drive himself. A few tests and then out to lunch together, we had decided. But before the morning was done, he was in the hospital and I was driving home alone. Once home, I paused to ponder the morning. I started out with hope in a political system that regularly and quite faithfully fails, and ended the morning in a hospital room with a friend facing questions and fears. And, suddenly my perspective changed. What is really important? What really matters? Who is really in control? What is the real issue? The answers to these four questions can help us to keep things in proper perspective.
What is really important? Family and friends and those we love. In the long run (or, as I like to call it, “eternity”), it will not really matter if you voted red or blue as long as you loved those the Lord put in front of you, be it family, friends in a hospital, or someone of a different political persuasion. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus makes it very clear: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is what is really important.
What else really matters? Hands down it is the Gospel of Christ, and sharing the Gospel is the best way we show love to our neighbors. My friend in the hospital was in his 70’s before he embraced the Gospel, so it is fresh in his heart, but we all need to be reminded of the Gospel’s impact on our lives. Paul says in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” This power of God is not a one-and-done in our lives, but a constant working itself out in our daily walk (Phil 2:12-13), whether we are voting or lying in a hospital bed.
Who is really in control? God is in control. He is in control of elections and politicians (Rom 9:17, 13:1), and He is in control of the details of our lives, from our first breath to our final breath.
So what is the real issue? It all comes down to trust. Do we trust Him? Do we REALLY trust Him? When things are going well trust is easy. But when the country is divided or you are lying in a hospital bed true trust can be a rare and precious commodity. We had a dear friend go through a serious bout with cancer a few years ago with grace and peace. When we asked her how she did it she said in her quiet way, “Well, I can choose to panic or I can choose to trust God, and I don’t like how panic feels.”
In a world that seem to be daily on the verge of panic, I think we of faith need to make a better choice: Trust God. As I finish this article, I notice a five-dollar bill sitting on my desk. Printed across the back is “IN GOD WE TRUST” and I am forced to asked the question: Do we? If we really did, what would the world look like on this election day?
Pondering with You in Christ,
NCD Pastoral Care