2016: Page 313

I should start today’s page with a disclaimer — while the page is a reflection of my thoughts on this election day, it is not a political statement or viewpoint.  I am deliberately writing it early in the day before any election results are known because it isn’t about who won or lost, regardless of what the results are.  Instead, this is an observation of the spiritual lessons I have been learning today.

Well, page 313 was election day in the United States and as unpleasant as some of the choices were, I’m glad the day is over.  Most people I know view voting as a privilege and a God-given right but I would have to strongly question the second part of that belief.  I do believe that voting is a privilege and everyone who is offered that privilege should prayerfully participate.  I also believe it is a responsibility even more than a privilege and one that we shouldn’t take lightly.  There is an inherent problem, however, in voting for leaders and it is the problem pointed out by God when He replaced the people’s choice, Saul, with His choice, David, to be king of Israel — “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  One of the difficulties, even if we want to make godly choices, is that we cannot see the heart of another person accurately.  Yes, there are things about them that can give us a good idea of what their heart may be like — “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”, but we will never have the same view of the heart that God does.

But it is not the hearts of the leaders that should concern us the most.  It is the condition of our heart that is the one we can do something about.  When a group of people are allowed to choose their leader, that leader will invariably reflect the hearts of those making the choice.  Most people I know are surprised at the candidates we have to choose from at almost every level of politics.  If you were to base your voting decision in almost any race solely on television ads that have been aired over the past few days, I’m not sure we would be able to vote for anyone — every ad that I have seen and heard has only been about what a terrible person their opponent is.  So, either the ads aren’t accurately representing the people running for various offices, or we’re in big trouble! 😉  And then I consider the spiritual climate in our nation and the eagerness of so many to call evil good  and good evil.  When the people of a nation turn their hearts away from God, it is unlikely they will be inclined to select leaders whose hearts are turned toward God — it could happen, but it would be a total work of God rather than of man.  The good news is that regardless of the process, no leader comes to power in a way that catches God by surprise.  Regardless of how the various candidates fare today, God is still on His throne and He has the power, ability, and desire to care for His children.  No matter who is president; God still calls me, and each of His children, to “care for the widows and orphans and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

As I consider my heart, do I care for the yet to be born children, for the poor, for the needy, for the lonely, for the abandoned, for the hurting, for the hungry, for the hopeless, for so many others who feel invisible or do I close my heart and expect the government to deal with that which God has called His children to do?  Do I love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength or do I love myself more than God with portions of each of those?  Do I care for those that God brings across my path or do I try to justify myself and ask, “Who is my neighbor?”  Do I love when it is difficult and messy or only when it is convenient and beneficial?  It is only when my heart is turned fully toward God that I can help others know how to turn their hearts fully toward God.  And when the people of God have turned their hearts fully toward Him, they will take seriously His instruction for us to pray for our leaders so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives in full godliness.  Speaking of quiet and peaceful lives, today’s photo is of a young deer who was grazing quietly and peacefully outside my office window the entire time I’ve been writing this page.

I pray that you and I would turn our hearts fully toward God and pray for our leaders as He has instructed us to.

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