I'll admit to it. I'm grieving for a country I've always been proud to be a part of. Being patriotic is part of who I am. It was instilled in me by my parents, especially my father who made sure we were all schooled daily on national and international current events. He would sit down nightly and read the day's newspaper, sometimes reading it aloud and sometimes just conveying his feelings on a subject that he'd read. Much like my mother, who would read and comment on the Bible research she was studying while preparing for the Sunday School class she taught. Our home education was steeped in God and Country.
I grew up Methodist and there was nothing luke-warm about our Sunday morning sermons. I attended other denominations when I spent weekends with cousins or other friends and got the same dose of worship and praise in their churches. We were all in this together, some just a little more structured than others. I also remember the day that Jesus reached down personally and touched my heart, making it His forever.
Daddy was all about the little people. Being a farmer, he knew what it was like to have good years and bad. He knew what it was about to be on the receiving end and what it was like to be on the giving end. I was also born privileged, but not in the way people speak of privilege now; privileged that in spite of being born and raised in the rural South, there was no racial hatred taught in our home, and for that, I'll be forever grateful.
I was also taught to respect the office of the President of the United States of America, somewhere along the line shortened to POTUS, which sounds like a rather disrespectful term if you ask me. But if you didn't like a president, you just sucked it up and waited for the next four years, but you still were taught to respect the president. The only time I remember my father truly grieving over a presidential election was when Richard Nixon was voted in for a second term, and we all know how that played out. He was sick for days. I know he would be sick if he were alive today. Instead though, he is basking in God's everlasting sunshine in a place that knows no physical or emotional pain.
I am a Christian writer, and for this entire process of election, I'm ashamed that I've remained quiet about my feelings on Donald Trump. The few times I've alluded to my feelings in written word, I've done so gracefully as not to offend other Christians out there who somehow think this vile man is the answer to the world's problems. I stood by in shock as I watched people defend this man's actions, some of the most un-Christian like actions I've ever witnessed in not only a presidential candidate, but in a person in general. One who believes in the idolatry of money; of pride and ego; of self-aggrandizement. I heard the issues brought up, and I too have struggled with some of the issues, but still I could not even look at this man and not get a sense of revulsion that made me literally sick to my stomach. It was an emotion straight from my heart and soul; a place where the Holy Spirit resides in me.
We've studied Isaiah recently and all I keep thinking about and wondering, is God hardening hearts so that we as a nation are not seeing things clearly? We are told in scripture that he hardens the hearts of unbelievers (look what he did to Pharaoh), but what about believers? And if so, whose hearts have been hardened? I feel mine has been softened as I've prayed and gained clarity in the months leading up to the election, but does the other side feel the same? And as a Christian, why are my gut feelings so much different from those of other Christians. It's so troubling to me - maybe something I will never understand.
I hope and pray that our next president, (excuse me if I can't yet say his name) will not be like King Ahaz of Isaiah's day - too stubborn to listen to the advice of God's prophet and too quick to side with the wrong rulers. If so, we are all in trouble.
I do know that I need my space right now. I need time to grieve. I hope and pray that my friends and family who voted differently will understand if I can't see or talk to them right now. I thought I could move on faster than this, but it has taken its toll.
As I finish writing this as a healing process, I want to encourage my friends who are also grieving for our nation. God is sovereign. He is the ultimate ruler. I don't think he is rejoicing in our choice of leaders, but He has given us hope. There is the hope found in Isaiah, a Messianic hope where we can imagine all of creation is healed and restored, a place where we can live in peace.