“Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisors” Proverbs 11:14 (NLT)
Today, February 17 is President’s Day and a reminder, to me, that I should pray for people in office. It is also a reminder that the person in office is human and not God. I used to stress over the decisions made by those in office and at times I still do. That’s because many times it seems as decisions are made for the elite few instead of for all of us. Then to calm myself, I return to my roots which are grounded in church. I remember no matter how much it appears otherwise, there is someone in charge Who is higher than officials in office, God. I owe my beliefs to my parents and grandparents, William and Essie Brown- Chever and William and Alice Mathis-Chever, respectively. My siblings and I grew up in Jordan Park. Every Sunday my parents sent us to Sunday school at Mount Zion AME Church with a quarter to put in the offering plate. I remember we always stopped on the way at Frank Peterson’s store to spend five cents on a treat for ourselves. During the summers, we spent time with our grandparents in Sumner, GA. Here, we also went to Sunday School every Sunday at Miller’s Chapel. I can see us now sitting in wooden chairs in the back of Grandpa Chever’s old Ford pickup truck heading to church. So, from an early age, church was instilled in us by our parents and grandparents.
Remembering our upbringing made me realize that actions of those in office could cause continued stress if I lost sight of the bigger picture and allowed myself to get too absorbed in rhetoric. To me, the bigger picture is people in political power don’t control everything. Sure, they can cause destruction, chaos and confusion. However, this is where my faith in God gives me peace.
“I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid” John 14:27 (NCV)
Then, I start to think about things they cannot control. They cannot stop the sun from rising, shining and setting. They cannot shake the stars, the moon from the sky. Confusion, destruction and chaos don’t last; to me, everything is cyclical. Even in confusion, destruction and chaos, life finds a way. Life, people, survive and go on. At least, that’s how I see it.
So, the next time you feel like I feel at times, troubled or at odds about who is really in charge of our nation, step outside, look around, breathe in and out. Feel the cool breeze as it kisses your face. Breathe in the crisp morning air. See the magnificent earth around you whether it’s buildings, concrete yards or from my view, cleared fields, rolled hay, beautiful trees, flowers, birds, grazing animals. Then, look into the face of a smiling child. Or just look at the faces around you. Young, old, in-between, different ethnicities. When I do this, I feel something stir inside of me. Something peaceful, precious, warm and real. This moves me beyond the rhetoric, the politics to what I know for sure: God is in charge, not man. I will continue to pray for our leaders and our nation because I believe everyone benefits from prayer, regardless of their beliefs and their actions.
So, if praying is not your “go to,” try breathing in and out as you look around. Embracing our surroundings is a form of reverence and prayer. This country belongs to all of us, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, age.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 (NLT)
Dear God, give me the strength and motivation to pray for those in leadership roles. Also, give the leaders godliness and dignity as they guide our nation. God, heal our land. Thank You. Amen.
P. S. Now, along with prayer, I make sure I vote in every election. Casting my vote doesn’t assure me that the person or people I vote for will be elected to office. But, it sure makes me feel good knowing that I did something by exercising my right to vote; a right that was denied for many years.