I'll be honest, I woke up Wednesday with a heavy heart. I knew the outcome before I actually heard it (I went to bed and didn't stay up to hear all the gritty details) and as I laid there in my bed in the predawn light, I felt immeasurably sad. I felt very strongly that America, the grand experiment, had finally come to its end. Maybe her heart would continue to beat, but she was on life support at this point. I know - that's really melodramatic isn't it? But that's how I felt - like I was witnessing America's slow topple from greatness.
As I got ready for my day, an old song kept running through my mind. I hadn't really thought of it in years but it popped in my head - providentially, I believe.
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand."
The truth is, I was kind of surprised by my feelings on Wednesday. Throughout the election season, I had thought President Obama was going to win. I guess I got caught up in some of the political talking heads that were giving a different picture in the last weeks before election day. I guess I had started to hope for a different outcome.
The truth is while I believe that President Obama's policies will have a very negative impact on America in a lot of ways, I also believe that Mitt Romney wasn't going to be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat either and turn America around all by himself or even with other conservatives in Washington. He would just slow the downward descent is all.
You can't force inward change on people by outward mandates. Culture changes government, not the other way around.
Yes, President Obama is extremely liberal in all areas - socially, fiscally, you name it, but is he really all that much different than many of the people he governs?
Four years ago, he promised hope and change. He was an unknown entity. He rode into office on a wave of optimism and voters didn't really know what they were getting. Tuesday, they did. We knew who he was and what he stood for. The election showed that just over half the American public (that voted anyway) agreed with what he stood for.
In a democracy, your government reflects the values and priorities of the people.
Looking at the tide of American culture it would be really easy to get discouraged and depressed. It can feel like I don't have a voice and that my vote, my opinion, my interests, my values mean nothing. I can start to feel like that boy who was trying to plug the holes in the dam with his fingers.
The thing is, on the grand scale of the American political landscape, I can't make much difference. BUT, in my own community, that's a different story. I can reach out to the hurting. I can meet people's needs. I can share God's love and His light in my own sphere of influence.
For instance, even if we enacted legislation that would make abortion illegal, that would not necessarily change the behavior behind those terminated pregnancies. Abortion - as horrible as it is - is a symptom of a greater problem.
We can rail about the "problem" with the younger generation, but how many of them do you know personally? How many of them have you sat down and really listened to lately? How many of them have you loved on and showed that you cared?
We can force a mask of morality on our country, but it doesn't change people's actions or their hearts. It just delays the inevitable.
On the other hand, I can volunteer with a youth ministry or at an unwed teen home. I can take the time to notice the people around me and meet them where they are at and love them. Those things, while relatively small, can make a huge difference in someone's life - a positive difference.
I can't change a whole country, but I can influence one.
I was reminded in the past few days, that my hope and my help is not in the government because the government is made up of people. Eventually, people let you down because they are human.
My trust is in Someone a whole lot bigger and more trustworthy. Someone who is reliable and actually keeps His promises.
"Do not trust in princes or mortal men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In this very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is the Lord his God." Psalms 146:3-5
~ Blessings, Bronte
p.s. Tomorrow, I'll get back to 30 days of thankfulness! ;)