I sit here today on the eve of what appears to be an historic election in the United States. It will not be the first one, but it will be one of the most significant in my lifetime and today as I consider that my thoughts turn immediately to my dad.
My dad was likely one of the wisest and humblest men I have ever known and I am more aware than ever of how his life, principles, and training have affected me. I never heard him raise his voice and I never saw him shirk responsibility for any area of his life.
It was he who most influenced me to pursue the Lord and lifelong learning. It was he who valued integrity in a person above fame, fortune, education, or experience because he knew a person of integrity could be trusted. It was also he who taught me the gift of freedom I have as a citizen of the United States and my responsibility to protect it and support it, pray for it, and never to forget to vote.
Today I wish he were here so we could have a conversation about this particular election.
While he was alive, I cannot recall ever not talking with my dad prior to an election. He was a lover of history and knew so much more about it than I understood when I was younger. He never took his privilege of voting for granted and as a believer, he considered it to be a matter of prayer as he considered those issues and people placed before him on a ballot.
When he first voted there was no TV commentary or ads, no iPhone snippets of volatile conversation someone eavesdropped on, no Twitter or Facebook, no Snapchat or Instagram. By the time I was in grade school, beyond the radio there was TV and certainly newscasts spoke about issues and candidates, but far differently than today.
One thing I learned from him was that I was responsible to learn as much as I could about any issue or candidate in addition to seeking the Lord for wisdom. That meant not looking at, listening to, or reading only one source. It meant sometimes seeking the wisdom of others he knew personally. It also meant paying attention every week about what was happening so he wasn’t reliant only on gathering information the weeks and months just prior to election when all sorts of half-truths and lies were mixed with truth. He knew reporters and journalists were human and their biases were going to be mixed in with their reports and opinions often reported as facts.
As a result, even though my dad was not blessed to have a higher education and he blessed me with a college education, he never failed to know something more about an issue or a candidate than I did prior to Election Day. He looked for the thread of truth he found in multiple sources and weighed that carefully in conjunction with what he had been seeing all along and then he went to his knees to seek the Lord’s counsel.
So today I will take what he taught me and use it as wisely as I can on the eve of this election. What he taught me has already demonstrated value in recent weeks and months as I have discovered the most popular media have failed to report or mention things that were important as a citizen and as a believer.
So today I will remember that the United States has turned away more Christian Syrian refugees than other faiths despite the high level of persecution they have endured for years. Ten percent of the Syrian population is Christian and yet less than one half of one percent of those Christians refugees from Syria has been accepted. It is significant enough for a federal appellate judge to consider and issue a sharply worded opinion to the administration.
So today I will remember that UNESCO has passed two resolutions denying Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the United States did not dissent or stand with Israel.
So today I will remember that neither of these stories were covered by any of the major TV news networks.
I will remember that Franklin Graham and Ann Graham Lotz have been calling for prayer and caution for months as they have reached out to believers in this nation. I will remember that God values life over death and truth over lies.
So today I will remember those who founded this country came here first for freedom to worship as they chose and not bear unreasonable tax burdens. I will remember they did not expect nor want government to take care of them, but would be responsible for themselves and attend to the concerns, burdens, and cares of their friends and neighbors.
Today I will remember we have fallen prey to looking the other way when a pattern of deceit occurs depending on who or what is involved and how skewed our perception is. I will remember that God looked on the heart of imperfect men when He made His choices of leaders.
Today I will remember and recognize the importance of the future of our Supreme Court hangs in the balance as we elect this president and may well affect much of our future as citizens and believers. It will impact more about my vote than other things I consider important because it will represent what kind of future I leave for my children and grandchildren.
Today I will pray and express gratitude to the Lord for this nation and the freedoms it offers me and I will express gratitude for my dad and all he taught me and lived in front of me.
Today I will not be able to talk with my dad, but I will most certainly be able to talk with my heavenly Father.
And tomorrow…I will vote.