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Preparing My Heart

November 4, 2020

During my reflections early Tuesday morning, the following thought rose for me.

In my theology, God doesn’t know the future, but God knows the present fully—which means God knows the contents of all ballots that have been submitted, and knows the hearts of all who are heading to the polls right now.  So, my query for today is this:  How is God preparing my heart to handle what God already knows?  I need to listen carefully…

Now it is 2:00 am Wednesday morning, and I’m reflecting and listening again.  You need not share my theology or my politics to have a heart that needs steadying.  The presidential election is not decided but it is very close.  The majority of supporters of each candidate—and thus the majority of all Americans—believe the consequences of their candidate losing will be catastrophic for America’s future.  President Trump is doing all he can to ensure this is true no matter the final result, claiming without basis that he has won the election yet also that the election itself is “a major fraud”—a position guaranteed to agitate anyone of any political stripe.  And it is working …

So, again I ask: How is God preparing my heart for what lies ahead?  Upon reflection, it seems clear that God’s work of preparation has been going on for some time.

Four years ago, in the early Wednesday morning hours following the 2016 election, I received one of the clearest divine nudges of my life, and I proclaimed Midlife Sabbatical is Over.  In closing that post, I declared, “I don’t know what difference I can make, but it won’t be for lack of engagement.”  Four years later, I can question how much difference I have made in the grand scheme of things, but I can also reflect on the organizations and people I have been engaged with during this time, and I can feel the difference I have made to them—and the difference they have made to me. 

Perhaps just as importantly, the very act of engagement has prepared my heart for the challenges that have come our way, especially in 2020.  It has exercised my muscles of hope, helping me be present for others whose struggles can feel hopeless.  So, in this moment when our future as a nation and a world feels under assault, without hope for a better tomorrow, I feel a leading to renew my commitment to engagement.  Despite all the troubles the last four years have brought, it has been this attitude of my heart that has made them bearable.  This gives me hope that, with continued engagement, the next four years will be bearable, too.

God has also prepared my heart today by pushing into my consciousness the song “We Shall Overcome,” and all that comes with it.  My studies in seminary and my ongoing study of the history of oppression and racism have impressed me with just how long the arc of the moral universe is, while still leaving as a matter of faith that it bends toward justice.  I was not prepared for what felt like a setback four years ago, and I’m not prepared for another setback this year.  But the disappointment that white educated progressives like me might feel is insignificant compared to the centuries of setbacks and disappointment that people of color and other marginalized people have endured and continue to endure.  “We Shall Overcome” reminds me that this is no time to lose heart in the struggle to build a society that treats all its members with dignity and compassion.  Indeed, that time should never come.

I still don’t know how events will unfold over the coming days, but my heart feels as prepared as it can reasonably be, and for that I am grateful.

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One Comment
  1. Beautifully written and I feel that same. Thank God for faith.

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