Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Semi-Political Thoughts from the Politically Disinclined

The email stared at me from my inbox. “Kenyan election: Reasons to be Fearful”

As if the March 4th presidential election needed any more reason to be on my radar, this email was supposedly going to give me a few more.

I’ve never been interested in politics. That was my sister’s territory. She joined the mock trial team, while I dribbled on the basketball court. She watched the evening news, while I turned the channel to Baseball Tonight. She read the front page of the newspaper, while I preferred the Sports section.

It’s not that l think elections or politics are unimportant. I know they are very important. I know many men and women have fought and sacrificed their lives so that we, as Americans, can live in freedom. I never want to take that for granted. I try to make a wise decision come election time, but that is about where my political interest ends.

When America had their election this past November, I enjoyed the extra day off work. I picked up one of my closest friends, and the idea was that she would keep me company as I waited to vote. The church we showed up to ended up being the wrong polling place, but we decided to make the most of the mistake. The playground next to us beckoned our names, and we soon found ourselves swinging, climbing, and running like we had no cares in the world.

Enjoying friendship and freedom in America

And to be honest, we didn’t have any cares. We were in a country that ensured our freedom even on a day when so much was at stake.

Here in Kenya, the scene will be quite different.

The last election caused much unrest. The winner was disputed, and much violence broke out. Over 1,000 people lost their lives, and thousands more were displaced from their homes, some of which have never been able to return. Two of the candidates in this election, the seeming frontrunners, are scheduled to appear before the International Criminal Court in April due to crimes against humanity in the aftermath of the last election. Many speculations surround this upcoming election, whether it will be peaceful, or if it will once again succumb to turmoil and strife.

A poster in our library

As you can imagine then, the election has planted itself in the back of my mind. I am in a safe region, but a level of uncertainty still remains within the country. So on the day when that email found its way to my inbox, I was not that surprised. There is reason for concern.

What that email failed to talk about, however, was my God.

My God gives me every reason NOT to be fearful. “Fear not” is one of the most repeated commands in the entire Bible. Constantly, God tells his people not to be afraid. Just like a small child feels reassured by the presence of his loving, protective father, we can take comfort that our Father knows our needs.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” [Isaiah 41:10]

You see, God is sovereign. He is sovereign over the big things and sovereign over the little things. And because He is sovereign, we can trust Him. Fully. God’s perspective is much greater than ours. We see things through the scope of our eyes and in light of our experiences; God sees things through the light of eternity, and through his purposes and his glory. When things don’t make sense to us, we can rest in the fact that they make sense to him. He created this world, and loves it deeply. He loves it so much that in seeing its brokenness, he gave His Son so that it could be restored. So that we could be restored.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

The Bible is filled with many people, ordinary people like you and like me, who chose to trust God instead of their fear. I’m sure that Daniel felt afraid as he was lowered into a den full of lions. I’m sure that Esther was anxious as she approached the king without being summoned. I’m sure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were fearful moments before they walked into a furnace. These people knowingly put themselves in circumstances that could have and probably should have ended their lives. But they knew that God is who He said He is, and in these instances, God protected his children. He does not always do this, but we know that in every situation, He is most worthy of our deepest trust.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” [Psalm 27:1]

So as the Lord brings it to mind, please pray for Kenya and the upcoming election. Pray that those who are bent on disrupting this process would be silenced and disarmed. Pray that God’s presence would be especially real to those in times of crisis. Pray that a man of honesty and integrity would be brought into office. Pray mostly that this nation would be under the leadership of our God, in whom we have nothing to fear.

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God no matter the conflict.”

Praying that these precious children would know peace in their country

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