I have been nothing but the worst of all bloggers this fall. I am so very sorry. At an event recently, the host asked if I was to be introduced as an “author, speaker, and blogger” and I cringed thinking how long it has been since I put words to the page here. (I’m putting lots of words to other pages, don’t worry, I’m still writing, but just not here like I should or want to.) I have big plans for returning with a vengeance in 2017 though, so don’t you worry about that!
But today, I asked a dear friend of mine, Michael Wear, to pen a little something about the election. Michael is a massively trusted voice in the faith and politics world, and I’ve watched the last few years as he has led this conversation with integrity and compassion. This is what he had to say to us today…
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The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
This morning, we woke up to heated talk about the presidential election. Throughout the day, political strategists will make their predictions, and the stakes will be discussed in starker and starker terms as we move through the day. Millions will agonize over their vote, and then nervously watch the returns come in tonight.
This election has been disconcerting to say the least. It has been defined by the presumption of fear and instability. We are told that great enemies surround us, and that our fate will be decided when the votes are tallied.
It is right to think of pleasant things while reading the twenty-third Psalm: the calm of still waters and the peace of green pastures. We read this Psalm, some of the best-known literature the world has ever known, and we are transported in our minds and in our spirit. We are reminded of God’s character and the promise He has for our lives.
The Psalm is used often at funerals—I read it at my father’s service—and it is depicted on lovely home decor. It is a Psalm for all times, a reminder of the constant things and eternal truths.
Yet, to think this Psalm is primarily for our moments of reflection or mourning is to miss its meaning. The Twenty-Third Psalm is not just for the backdrop of our lives, a reminder in the moments when we finally catch our breath. No, this Psalm is meant for when we are in the very thick of life, for the very moment of crisis.
David, of course, was not someone who lived a simple life. He was a warrior and a king. He led armies and slayed giants. He faced major trials—many of his own making. This Psalm is not just a reflection on God’s faithfulness, but an overflow of David’s experience of God’s faithfulness at the present time.
Today, I want to remind you that the same God who led David beside still waters, and who prepared a table for him in the midst of his trial, that God is alive and well. If you have cast your lot with Jesus, He says that we can abide in Him and He will take care of our needs. If David can find security in God as others plot his demise, surely we can trust Jesus for our security in the midst of an election.
This does not mean that we ignore reality. This is the great relief of the Psalm: that David is able to acknowledge that he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, but God meets him right there in the mess with blessing and anointing and comfort.
Likewise, as we move through this day, we do not ignore the real consequences that the outcome of this election will have on our well-being and that of our neighbors, our country and the world. We can even care deeply about the outcome. But let us not live as though we have no Shepherd. Jesus encourages us, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We can find security at all times in Him, and we need not fear any evil. We worship a great and compassionate God, who is ushering in a certain kingdom, and whose term as King is not for four or eight years, but all time.
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Don’t you love Michael?!? I promise he’s about to become your favorite twitter follow and your favorite political thinkin’ man. And this writing is SUCH good truth. Honestly exactly what I needed to hear today. Michael is the author of the forthcoming book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy– I hope you will too. Totally worth it.
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