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Topic: Rejoicing (11/22/04)
TITLE: Walking by Faith Not by Sight
By Chris Miller
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For months, I had been praying about the presidential election. For most of 2004, I had been optimistic about President Bush's re-election. We were at a spiritual crisis in our country, and I was thankful for a Christian president who defended moral values and prayed about his decisions. I felt that he had shown himself to be a strong, Godly leader and deserved another term in office.
After the first October debate, the poll numbers "tightened" as the media likes to spin. As a fourth grade teacher, I was attending kids' camp on Monday, October 4th. While wandering the campgrounds watching the children's activities, I waged an inner struggle. Discouragement wrapped its tentacles around me. I couldn't seem to break loose from the panic that was making my heart race.
About 3:00 a.m. that morning I woke with deep concern. From a camp bunk bed I cried out to the Lord, "I am discouraged. I feel I'm losing hope that the President will win." As I waited in silence a segment of a verse shot through my thoughts: "I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." I felt comforted and decided to read some Psalms. My Daily Bread devotional was stuffed open-faced in my Bible. The lesson on the right side of the page titled "Looking for Comfort" made me smile. I surely did need comfort! When I found the key verse I was really astounded. Psalm 27:13, "I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Now, the Lord had my attention. At the bottom of the page another axiom cheered me: Believing in the goodness of the Lord keeps hope alive. What a personal response to my need! The frosting on the cake, however, was served when I opened my Bible to Psalm 27. Incredibly, I had already underlined and dated verse 13 on July 8, 2004. God had motivated me to underline a verse in July that He knew I would really need in October. Only He could make His living Word applicable to His child in her time of need.
In the following days, the plot thickened. A friend expressed hope that the president was also receiving spiritual encouragement. In response to her comment, I wrote a note to the White House, sharing my unusual experience. As I was addressing the envelope, someone seemed to tap me on the shoulder, "Wasn't that verse in one of the President's annual Christmas cards?" I scoured the house for my Christmas card collection. To my delight, the card from Christmas 2001, after 9/11, did indeed have this verse. "Thy face, Lord, so I seek: I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!" Psalm:27;8,13.
Once again I appreciated our Christian president who recognized God's providential care. I believed, at this point, that God was using the repetition of this verse to reassure me of George w. Bush's re-election. During the next few stressful weeks, I "fed on God's faithfulness" (Psalm 37) by constantly reciting the now quite familiar words of Psalm 27:13. As I shared this experience with others, I had the pleasure of seeing them encouraged: some about the election, some about other issues in their lives. One of my close friends unexpectedly received Psalm 27:13,14 from a stranger from whom she had purchased a book on line. We marveled together over God's sense of humor. We pictured Him chuckling over our amaztment at His persistent message.
On November 3rd, I rejoiced! Thankfulness overwhelmed my next few days. I believe that God's promise through Psalm 27:13 made the victory all the sweeter. More importantly, though, than who won the election was the knowledge that God loved me enough to give me personal encouragement through His timeless Word. This Thanksgiving, in particular, I rejoice over God's faithfulness to me and to our nation!