My election ballot arrived in the mail yesterday. I’m so glad I didn’t open it. There’s a lot to do before I cast my vote.
Sometimes I get the impression there is a serious effort underway to keep us anxious, worried about — well, everything. Our culture thrives on fear. We listen to 24/7 news, experts on every topic, and a deluge of “the latest studies and statistics.” That’s when it usually starts… a deep apprehension takes over our imagination.
We are told that education standards are lowering, the economy is crumbling, predators are stalking our children, and the globe is warming at an alarming rate. Saturated fats are clogging our arteries, we’re about to run out of fossil fuels, and the environment is going to pay us back for centuries of abuse. Regardless of our savings, they won’t be enough for retirement.
And now, we absolutely cannot trust anyone in government or politics. No one!
I just read a news article that said people are fleeing New York City in anticipation of riots after the election. Other cities are soon to follow. People are buying ammunition even though they have no money for food. We don’t need to decide whether or not to keep the children home on Nov. 4 — they are already being educated there.
Now the ballot has arrived. It is waiting for me. For whom should I vote?
Our pastor preached a great message this morning. This is how we should vote.
Step one: Be thankful for all the men and women who gave their lives to make our democracy a reality. We’ll never know their names, or the grief-laden sacrifice their loved ones made on our behalf. There are countries all over the world inhabited by people who have a voice, but no vote in who leads them. We need to be grateful.
Step two: Remember that God is sovereign. He has the ability to act without your permission. The word sovereign means having complete authority and power. That means God is able to move, change, and manipulate everything in our physical world. He has a long history of using both good and bad leaders to accomplish His purposes. God is not influenced by your vote. Whoever wins, He ordained it. But He is still counting on you to participate in the plan.
Step three: Worrying achieves nothing. Maybe you cannot trust the news media, politicians, the environment and your next door neighbor, but you can trust God and His plan for you.
In our anxiety-fed culture, we need to stop and listen to a word from another century. One that was also fraught with worry. Jesus, speaking to his disciples (that includes us) said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matt 6:25).
Many of us live unreflective lives. We pay attention to the news media, television, our opinionated leaders and family members. We focus on the restless dissatisfaction of our material wants, always seeking and striving for more. But do we provide time for consideration of things that matter to God? I’m talking about gratitude, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, and absolute trust in His sovereignty.
Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians about Jesus.
“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.”
Cast your ballot. God’s got this.
Sylvia Peterson is a former co-pastor for Bald Hill Community Church and an author. She and her husband are chaplains for the Bald Hills Fire Department. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of a new book, “The Red Door: Where Hurt and Holiness Collide,” which can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.