In today’s blog post, I’m going to do something I never thought I’d do. I’m going to make political comments!
Tomorrow is a vital day for the country I call home—the nation I love. Some of my ancestors came to America in the 1600’s, before our nation’s Independence was declared. They came to escape religious persecution. Others immigrated from Ireland, Norway and Germany, seeking economic opportunities for them and their children.
A little over a month ago, I visited Israel. I observed ruins from governments that long-ago were defeated and collapsed. I gained a deeper understanding of the political challenges facing modern-day Israel.
We walked upon the Golan Heights and ate lunch alongside UN soldiers in a restaurant called Coffee Anon, a clever tongue-in-cheek reference to Kofi Atta Annan who served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Later, Ron and I chatted with some of these oh, so young soldiers who represented their homelands—Ireland and Denmark.
One young Irish soldier said he was anxious to return home in a few days. I asked if there was someone special waiting, and saw the twinkle in his eye when he said, yeah, he had a girlfriend. The soldier’s sentiments were tender. Our encounter was touching.
It made me think about the young men in my family who served as soldiers during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World War II and Viet Nam. It’s always the young, the promising, the healthy whom nations send into harm’s way during political conflicts and wars.
As we stood atop the Golan Heights, we had a clear view of the River Jordan (currently, a mere creek because of draught conditions) as well as Syria and Lebanon. We heard mortar fire coming from Syria. The young woman who rang up my order in the gift shop said it was a quiet day. The casual manner in which she commented surprised me. I can’t imagine the sounds of mortar fire would seem ordinary to me on any day.
Our tour guides, Jane and Dan, talked about the re-birth of Israel as a nation, describing conflicts in 1948, the six-day war of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. They explained the importance of the Golan Heights to Israel’s current-day security. We were challenged to pray for the peace of this land, which has been the center of so much political conflict, hatred and unrest.
Governments are important. I believe democracy is the most decent form of government, and with all my heart, I believe democracy, whether in the land of Israel or the land of the USA, is worth defending.
Governments—even decent democracies—are, however, imperfect. They are made up of imperfect people, folks like Bible characters, my ancestors and like me. As with us imperfect individuals, I believe governments prosper when imperfections are acknowledged, forgiveness is extended, mistakes are examined and healthier opportunities for realignment and growth are embraced.
Now, back to tomorrow…
Tomorrow I will vote.
I will sign in at our St. Pius Church polling location, grateful for the privilege.
I will cast my ballot, hopeful for the outcome.
I will wear my little “I Voted” sticker throughout the day, convinced voting my conscience and conviction is not only my right, but is the right thing to do.
I will watch with anxious anticipation the election-day results on television.
Then, on Wednesday, November 9th, I am resolved to remember words reminding me …
…all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. (Romans 13:1 NLT)
…God so loved the WORLD…(John 3:16 KJV emphasis mine)
Next, I plan to take ‘action steps’ reminding me to pray…
Pray for the USA, my home and nation I love
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (‘tikkun olam’)… (Psalm 122:6 KJV)
Pray for nations throughout the world. (U.N. Flag)
…pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for… all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God… (1 Timothy 2:2 & 3 NLT)
I will determine to…
…not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [my] requests to God…[so that] the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [my] heart and [my] mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6 & 7 NIV changes mine)
Finally, I’m determined to never forget these words of Jesus…
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)
Today I’m praying no matter the direction tomorrow’s election goes, you will experience the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…
Note: For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/