Fifty-two Weeks of Wisdom

Wisdom for Super Tuesday

political-party-buttonsPray

Lord, so many of us look at the political landscape in our nation and we find ourselves wringing our hands. Some fear that we are too liberal. Some fear that we are too conservative. Many expect to elect an official who reflects godly values. Others believe that all politicians are crooked in one way or another, lying and cheating and negotiating their way to the top. God of all creation, we come to you today for hope. We come to you knowing that no lasting hope or promise comes from elected officials. Yet you are sovereign, working all things together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose. We in this community lift this week’s primary elections to you. We ask for your wisdom to prevail as people vote. We ask for your mercy for our nation. We ask that voters will be driven not by fear, but by hope in God. Amen.

Read

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:10-11 ESV)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 ESV)

Reflect

You know one of the things I love about the Bible? How much it seems to contradict itself. I love that, because it forces us to really dig in and discover what is going on there. Look at the two passages I picked for today’s meditation. One commands kings and rulers to “serve the LORD with fear,” and the other concludes that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” So which is it? Are we to “serve the Lord with fear?” Or are we to be so filled with love that there is no room left for fear?

I’ll give you a minute.

# # #

I would like to say that the reason this post is coming later than usual is that I wanted it to coincide with Super Tuesday in many of your states, but that would be false. This post is coming a bit later than usual because life in my house has been a bit fuller than usual, with several surprises, taxes to prep, a conference to attend, a few birthdays, and a few extra challenges, and I simply did not have the space to write out my thoughts in time to post them earlier.

But here I am! And just in time. Tomorrow (or later today, if you’re reading this on the east coast), people in twelve states, including many of yours, will go to the polls and vote. I do not have a candidate to endorse. I do not feel great about any of them. The ones I feel even a little bit OK about are not at the top on either side. None of them represent my values across the board (values like love, peace, humility, kindness, mercy, respect for life from start to finish, generosity, concern for the poor, respect for creation, faith, and self-control). In truth, if there were a candidate that really represented my values, they would never get elected, because they would never be endorsed by either of the major political parties running our country. Some of them seem to represent a few of those values, but no one is the embodiment of them. My Facebook feed tells me that many of you feel the same way I do. We are frustrated and a bit disenchanted by the whole thing.

My Facebook feed (and conversations I’ve had) tell me something else: a lot of us are afraid. We are looking at who is running and we are afraid. On both sides! Fear is motivating so many of my conservative and liberal friends, and I have found myself feeling fearful also. I listen to the rhetoric, I read commentaries (conservative and liberal) and I am filled with dread.

Which is what led me to today’s verses, one dealing with wisdom for rulers, and the other dealing with living free of the chains of fear.

As I have been thinking about tomorrow’s primary elections, and my own bewilderment at the outcomes of some of the primaries that have already taken place, and as I have been meditating on wisdom, I am holding these two passages in my heart. I want offer them to you as you go into the voting booths tomorrow (or however the process is happening in your state) as well:

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:10-11 ESV)

I am grateful we do not live in a monarchy. I am grateful we are in a democracy that is established with a system of checks and balances, so that no one person has all the power. That said, the office of President of the United States holds a lot of power. He or she is a “ruler of the earth.” And while I am not naive enough to expect that any of them will truly “serve the Lord with fear” or “rejoice with trembling,” I can and will pray for that.

I can and will pray that they will be wise and that they will be warned.

That’s my prayer for them: that they will be filled with a healthy and righteous fear of God. That they will be filled with the fear that leads to flourishing.

And my prayer for voters is this: that we be moved not by unrighteous fear of outcomes, but by hope in God, and that we be led by God’s Spirit in all things—including how we vote.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 ESV)

I am not telling you who to vote for tomorrow. Whether you vote for a Democratic or a Republican candidate, I am simply asking you to do this: reflect on these passages and pray.

Pray for wisdom. Pray to be filled with God’s love and emptied of unrighteous fear. Pray for God’s leading. Pray for the candidates to be filled with the only fear that leads to flourishing (righteous fear of God). Pray for insight. Pray for our nation.

Pray—and keep praying!—as you go out and vote.

Apply

Reflect, pray, and if you live in one of the states that has yet to hold a primary, vote!

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4 thoughts on “Wisdom for Super Tuesday

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