The Land of the Free

“Only in America,” my cousin lamented, “would an unqualified man be given a job over a qualified woman.” Her voice is one of millions dissatisfied with the Presidential elections in my country. Throughout the campaign, the rhetoric was filled with anger, hatred and fear, which has continued now that the election is over. Clearly we have a long way to go to heal our country. There are great enemies around us, but there is also a far greater enemy within us.

Lately I’ve been praying for unity and not just in the United States, but throughout the world. I’ve especially centered on the 23rd Psalm – yes, the beloved one most often read at funerals. The words comparing our God to a watchful, caring Shepherd give me great hope when I become overly anxious over the instability of the world. There is an even more poignant reason I’m turning to it after this election.

King David, the author, had his own difficult transition into office. As a young shepherd, the prophet Samuel called David out of the sheep pasture and anointed him king without the permission of the current king, Saul. After David was appointed king and defeated Goliath, David had to flee from Saul, who sought to perpetuate his reign by killing his replacement. Certainly, not the smoothest of transitions.

pastureI imagine David’s heart racing wondering when Saul would murder him, yet being calmed as the future ruler wrote of still waters and the peace of green pastures. David reminds himself and us of God’s character and the promise He has for our lives. The words bring comfort when we are in the very thick of life, in the moments of our crisis that seems never ending. David writes boldly and without question about his overwhelming experience of God’s faithfulness.

God’s faithfulness has not diminished. The same God David wrote about centuries ago is still walking beside us today. If we abide in Him, He will take care of our needs. If David could find security in God as others plot his demise, we can anchor our security in Jesus despite the outcome of an election.

There is great truth in David’s writing since he truly was walking through the shadow of death. I’m sure he felt death was closing in on him, surrounding him until his fear and frustration would literally suffocate him. Yet God met him right in the middle of David’s darkest moments with blessing, comfort and anointing.

It is unrealistic to think there are no real consequences of the outcome of this election. I live in an area of the country where an estimated 10% of the population is undocumented. When they lie down to sleep, their thoughts are populated with being rounded up and shipped back to a homeland they sought to escape for the privileges and freedom America offers. There are others who worry about global terrorism, imminent war or economic collapse. No matter what country you live in, this election has ramifications on our well-being, that of our neighbors and the world.

Given recent headlines, it is safe to say we are all afraid. We all feel more insecure than confident, more weak than strong. Despite our anxiousness, let us never forget we have a Good Shepherd.

Right now, there are deeply divided lines in my country – about the election, about race, about sexuality, about our future.  There is real fear and pain on both sides, but no matter where in the world you live, this is not the time to dismiss each other, but to seek security at all times in our Shepherd.

Because God is with us, we can be with each other. Because our Shepherd is on the throne, we can pray for each other and our future. Because our compassionate God is all powerful, we can be compassionate towards others because that is the example our formidable God gave us. And because of God’s great love, we can reach across any man-made divide for the sake of unity and healing.

Our God is not limited to a term of four years. He will be on the throne forever and His goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives.

Like David, we will fear no evil because God is always with us.

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