the advent of Advent again

So soon? Tomorrow I will turn my calendar and know that the season of Advent has begun again for real. I shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, my neighbors have had Christmas lights adorning their homes for at least a week now and channels such as Hallmark have been showing Christmas movies since Halloween, it seems to me. So I really have no excuse for feeling surprised that it is once again the “advent of Advent.” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I finally got all the Christmas decorations packed away? Or was that a lifetime ago? Both seem equally true to me.

Nevertheless, it is the Advent season once again. It is time for me to prepare all over again for “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event” as the dictionary definition of advent says. In this case, the notable person is Jesus Christ and the notable event is Jesus’s arrival here on earth as a human baby. The miracle of Advent is that the Creator of the Universe would take on our human form with all our limitations, weaknesses and frailties and deign to dwell with us for a period of time. This is a miracle worth remembering. This is a miracle worth celebrating. Advent is the time to do both, to remember and to celebrate what Jesus did for me and for you, too, dear readers. You see, Christ Jesus –

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

Imagine it. Jesus left the perfection of heaven to enter into earth’s brokenness and to walk some painful miles in my shoes and in your shoes. Remembering that alone is reason enough to celebrate. Because Jesus was born here, lived here, died here and rose again here, conquering death once for all, you and I have an advocate in the heavenly realms pleading our case before the Father. Which means you and I have a reason to celebrate!

“Therefore, since I have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to the faith I profess. For I do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with my weaknesses, but I have one who has been tempted in every way, just as I am – yet was without sin. Let me then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

You and I have a reason to celebrate! But if we don’t remember, we won’t know what or why we celebrate. Advent asks me to make time to remember – to clear my calendar of the mundane, and instead to focus on the greatest miracle of all time – that point in human history when God Himself became flesh and lived among us for a time. God’s prophecies were all fulfilled, His promises to mankind to send a Savior, all were kept on the night of Jesus’s birth. This is something we dare not forget. Jesus’s birth is something for us to remember and to celebrate. It is the reason for Advent. Advent is the time for us individually and collectively to once again “prepare the way of the Lord.”

Which means I guess it’s time I put away my pumpkins and get out some Christmas decor. “The way of the Lord” may have become overgrown from disuse since the last time people actively sought and prepared for His presence. But it is time once again to clear out the clutter, prepare a place and ask the King of Glory to enter in – to enter into my life, my heart and my home. Maybe Advent is about making the rough places smooth, bringing light into the places that have grown dark, throwing open the door and inviting the lowly Christ child into my life all over again.

Advent is a journey and it is time for my Advent journey to begin. It will be a journey unique to me as your journey will be to you. Mary and Joseph had their Advent adventure which ended in a stable with a baby in a manger. The shepherds had their own Advent journey, which ended at the same place. The Advent journey of the Wise Men lasted longer and ended in a different destination but the object of their quest was the same as that of every Advent journey ever undertaken – an audience with the Christ Child. And that encounter the Wise Men did receive. They were able to present Jesus with their gifts and worship Him before returning to their homelands.

The desired outcome of my Advent journey? The same as those who have gone before me. To come face to face with Jesus, fall face down at His feet, and give Him the true worship that is His due. Advent – a much needed time for me to prepare to receive the miraculous, undeserved gift of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)

King of glory, baby in the manger, Christ on the cross, Leaver of the empty tomb, Conqueror of death, Lord of all life – may You find the way prepared and enter in!

sincerely, Grace Day

thank who???

It’s here again – that one day of the year set aside for us to pause long enough to give thanks. For many of us, this requires a total shift of focus and attention from what we don’t have (and think we should) to notice all the things that we do have (and don’t necessarily deserve). The transition from entitlement to gratitude can be a tough if not impossible one in today’s culture. We take so much for granted that we haven’t yet mastered the art of gratitude. We are so busy striving for more, more, more, that we never take the time to be truly grateful for all the blessings we already enjoy every day. At least I know I am too often guilty of not truly appreciating all that I have been given. I think the old hymn’s advice to “count your blessings, name them one by one” is an excellent way to begin the journey from entitlement to gratitude.

The words of an old poem come to mind now – “Oh, God, forgive me when I whine; I have two eyes, (feet, ears) the world is mine. . . . With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunset’s glow, with ears to hear what I should know: I’m blessed indeed, the world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.”

These words certainly put things in perspective, don’t they? At least they do for me. But there is another important aspect to this Thanksgiving holiday which is often overlooked nowadays. And that is the all important question, “to whom are we giving thanks?” Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, which established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, answers this question clearly. It states in part, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Judging from Lincoln’s words in this address, people then had the same problem with gratitude that we do today. We too are “prone to forget the Source from which our bounties come” and because we so “constantly enjoy” so many blessings we tend to take them for granted. We too are in danger of being “habitually insensitive” to God’s constant watch care over us. We start to take the credit that belongs to God alone for each and every good thing in our lives. We forget that –

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

Every good thing is a gift from God. Lincoln made this clear in his Thanksgiving proclamation stating, “I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” Lincoln recognized Almighty God as the source from whom all blessings flow. Indeed,

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (Psalm 24:1)

Truthfully, one day out of the year isn’t sufficient to change my attitude or my heart. Thanksgiving needs to be the way that I live, not a one day of the year holiday. God’s word tells me to –

“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your (my) vows to the Most High” (Psalm 50:14) and to –

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1) I am told to –

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5)

Even in the middle of the pain and suffering I experience living in this broken world, I still have so much to be thankful for because of God’s goodness in general and to me specifically. Psalm 103:1-6 says it this way,

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

That’s quite a list right there of things to be thankful for, sins forgiven, diseases healed, a life redeemed from the pit and filled with love and compassion, renewed youth, righteousness and justice. These are all gifts that only God can give and my thanks rightly goes to Him alone. Thanksgiving has been from the very beginning, a day to give thanks where it is rightly due, to God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation concludes with these words, which are just as applicable today as they were then during the Civil War. Lincoln asked the people on Thanksgiving Day to –

“fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.”

That sounds like something we would all do well to pray to God tomorrow as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day by giving thanks where thanks is due – solely to God who has loved us with an everlasting love. It is God who is our Provider – to Him be all thanks, honor and glory.

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:13-16)

thankful for each and every one of my Heavenly Father’s good and perfect gifts,

sincerely, Grace Day

looking for God

Job was – looking for God that is. And Job was not having much success. In fact, listen to what Job said at one point –

“But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.” (Job 23:8-9)

Ever feel like that? Ever find yourself searching desperately for God and yet God seems to elude you no matter which way you turn? That describes Job’s experience as we see in the words above from Job chapter twenty-three. Job wanted a face to face with God. Job had a bone to pick with God and he wanted some answers. Everything Job owned had been taken from him, including his health. Job’s suffering was intense and he wanted to ask God why he was suffering in such an extreme way. Job felt he had done nothing to deserve his current circumstances. He blamed God and demanded that God explain Himself. Job said to his three friends –

“But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” (Job 13:3)

Only problem was, as we just read, Job was having trouble finding God so he could have that all important chat and plead his case. Job felt that he didn’t deserve the suffering that had come into his life. Job was asking the age old question of God, “why?” or more specifically, “why me?” But God was not only silent, He couldn’t be found. Or so Job thought.

There are times I, like Job, find myself searching for God. I can’t find Him, I can’t see Him, I can’t feel Him, I can’t hear Him. He has abandoned me. Or so I think. In these times of asking “where is God,” I come to realize it is I who have moved, I who have changed direction and focus, perhaps in pursuit of something or someone other than God. Then I look up and realize I have lost my way during the pursuit that took me away from God and now I wonder where God is. Fortunately, God said this in Jeremiah 29:13-14,

” ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’ ”

Job had such faith in God that even when he couldn’t find God, Job knew that God could find him. Indeed, Job acknowledged that God had never lost him for even a moment, but knew exactly where he was and saw everything that was happening to him. Immediately after announcing to his friends that he couldn’t find God, Job said these words –

“But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He (God) has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

I find these words of Job’s a bit surprising considering he has lost everything and is feeling unjustly treated and totally abandoned by God. And yet, bottom line – Job still believes God is watching over him and will bring him through his suffering to a good end. After all, “coming forth as gold” is something good. It actually foreshadows something Peter says in the New Testament when he talks about suffering saying –

“though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)

No question that Job’s faith was being tested. But Job didn’t abandon his faith in God, even when he felt abandoned by God. Job had to rely on a God he couldn’t see, hear, feel or find at the moment. Even so, Job said of God –

“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him;” (Job 13:15) and Job said –

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)

Faith in the midst of suffering. Hope when circumstances seem hopeless. That’s what Job had. Although Job thought God to be silent during his time of suffering, Elihu, a fourth friend of Job, pointed out to Job that this was not actually the case. Elihu said this to Job –

“Why do you complain to Him that He answers none of man’s words? For God does speak – now one way, now another – though man may not perceive it.” (Job 33:13-14)

A good reminder to me when I am suffering. God is not silent – He is speaking to me and to anyone who will listen. The question is – am I listening? C.S. Lewis says, “God whispers in our pleasure and shouts in our pain.” But I think it is in my pain that I have the most difficulty hearing Him. Maybe God is shouting but just maybe I am shouting too – too loudly to hear Him above my cries of complaint or distress or my demands to know why. I forget to “be still and know that He is God.”

When I am still I am better able to hear His voice. I can even hear His songs in the night, which Elihu spoke of in Job 35:10 when he said –

“But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.”

Where is God in my suffering? The same place He was in Job’s trials, in Daniel’s lions’ den, in the trial by fire of Daniel’s three friends, in the Israelites’ journey through the desert, in Paul’s imprisonment – in all suffering – God is present. Job couldn’t find Him, see Him, feel Him or hear Him – but that doesn’t mean God wasn’t there. He has already said He will never leave us nor forsake us. I need to remember that truth.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18)

Job had lost everything. He was brokenhearted and he was crushed in spirit, but God was close to him -closer than Job even realized at the time. The Lord heard Job and delivered him from all his troubles. Job believed that God would rescue and restore him, despite what he was experiencing in his current circumstances. I think Job would have identified with these words of King David written in the midst of his suffering,

“I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14)

I am making those words my own –

sincerely, Grace Day

eight billion books

Everybody has a story – unique, compelling, surprising, sometimes heart wrenching, often inspiring – our stories run the gamete from tragedy to triumph. Our stories are full of mystery, drama, romance, conflict, struggle, learning, loss, growth and gain. There are approximately eight billion stories currently being written. Some stories are further along than others. Although some stories are nearing their conclusion, there is still time for that last minute plot twist, yielding the surprise ending. After all, it’s not where you start but where you end up that matters most. Other stories are just beginning. Not even the first chapter has been finished yet.

I was reminded again this past weekend just how profound and diverse and surprising each of our stories truly are. Ever hear the expression “You can’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, that is most certainly true with people as well as actual books. I listened as many people shared parts of their stories at our conference and every time, I heard a story I never would have expected nor predicted from the particular person sharing her story. The only One who is never surprised is our Creator because He doesn’t judge us by our “covers” to begin with. He never has. He reminded Samuel of this fact in 1 Samuel 16:7 –

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”

If only I could learn to do that – look beyond a person’s appearance or “cover” and listen to their story which will involve learning to “read between the lines” as well as just taking the time to get to know their story even though it is still being written as is my own story. (if you are reading this, then your story is still being written too, it is not over yet) Each of us is a work (or manuscript) in progress, our stories are still being written. You may not think of your life as a best seller in the making, but comparing ourselves to books is not new. Consider when we say of someone – “he/she’s a walking encyclopedia?” or “his/her life is an open book?”

Do you, dear reader, like me, ever wonder how and when your story will end? The future is full of blank pages, waiting for us to write on them, the words and deeds, the thoughts and feelings that will fill those pages with what will become our unique story. How many pages are left for each of us to fill? Some “books” are much shorter than others. Some “books” end unexpectedly, prematurely it would seem – leaving the reader stunned and the story seemingly unfinished. I don’t even know how long my own “book” will end up being. But there is an Author who does know. I read in Psalm 139:16 this –

“All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

God’s story is the larger narrative into which each and every one of our individual stories fit. His Book of Life contains them all. My story derives its meaning and its purpose from being a part of God’s larger, eternal story. It’s a story He’s been writing ever since He put Adam and Eve in the garden and gave them dominion over it. A lot of stories have been written since that time. We read many of them in the Bible, in biographies, autobiographies and in history books. But for every story that we are still reading today, there are countless other stories that are also a part of God’s grand narrative, that we haven’t had the opportunity to read yet. Someday we will meet and be able to read all the books that have ever been written, those we never had a chance to meet here on earth, either due to geography or to the time in history during which their story was written. All of our stories fall somewhere between Genisis and Revelation. (all of us currently writing our stories like to think we are closer to Revelation than to Genesis but only God, the Author of all our stories, knows how far the end is from the beginning)

Nevertheless, the stories being written now are eerily similar to the stories we already know of those who have gone before us. Our stories contain elements common to us all – our struggle for survival, our quest to find meaning, our search for identity, our battles with evil and adversity, our pursuit of truth, our longing for true love and our desire for redemption and eternal life. Solomon was right when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Still each of our stories is unique to us. That’s why I don’t want to make assumptions and “judge a book by its cover” without taking the time to open it up and find out what’s on the inside. I am always surprised and often delighted at what I find when I take the time to look beyond the cover of anyone I meet and learn their story. Even though, like mine, their story is still being written, there is much we can share and learn from each other as we are works in progress.

So what is my story? What do I want it to be? drama? romance? mystery? comedy? an action thriller? sci-fi? a Greek tragedy? a tale of triumphing over adversity? a story that has many plot twists and turns? a story of heartache and loss? a story that ends in victory or in defeat? Truth is, of the almost eight billion stories currently being written, not that many will become famous biographies, not that many will be turned into movies. But that does not mean that my story and your stories, dear readers, are not important. In God’s eternal kingdom, each and every one of our stories are not just important, they are essential because our “books” are the chapters that make the story God has been writing since Genesis complete. It is truly an epic tale that God is telling.

But God is up to the task. The One who knows every hair on every head, saves all our tears and calls each and every star by name, can certainly keep track of not just the eight billion books currently being written, but all those books already written and those that will be written in the future. Nothing is too hard for Him. He is the omnipresent, all knowing, infallible Author. He never sleeps nor slumbers, so nothing gets by Him. God is the Author of it all. In Acts 3:15 I read what Peter preached to a crowd of people saying –

“You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Then in Hebrews 12:2 I read,

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of our faith,”

God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone tablets which He gave to Moses. He also said in Hebrews 8:10 –

“I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

God is the Author of life, of our faith, of both the old and the new covenants, of the Ten Commandments and of His laws which He writes on our hearts. (hearts which are often just as stony as the original tablets) He is the Author of the Bible and He is the Author of each and every individual story. I want Him to write my story too. Only problem is, sometimes I become dissatisfied with the way my story is going. I start believing I can do a better job writing my own story, so I grab the pen from God’s hand, in an attempt to gain control over my own script. I guess I get to thinking that I will write a better story for myself than my Heavenly Father will, even though He’s the One who has all wisdom and knowledge.

Every day I have to decide, who is going to write my story today, myself or my Heavenly Father? Who will have control of the pen? Will I follow His script or attempt to write my own?

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Abraham followed God without question and so did Peter. Peter walked away from his largest catch of fish ever and followed Jesus. It was an unexpected plot twist in that fisherman’s life, but Peter trusted Jesus and followed Him from that day forward, allowing God to author his story from that point on. God changed the script of Peter’s life that day, just as He changed Abraham’s story when He asked Abraham to leave his home and follow where God would lead. And then there’s Saul, turned into Paul. Saul was the author of his own story until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. From that point on, Paul let Jesus write his story and make it a part of the larger story God is writing for all mankind.

That’s what I want. I may be just one of eight billion books currently being written, but I want my Heavenly Father writing my story because I trust Him to write a better story for me than I could write for myself. To this end I will –

“Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways I will acknowledge Him, (including giving Him the pen) and He will direct my paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I want God to write my story so that it will fit perfectly with all the other stories He is authoring. He alone can weave all our “books” into His one grander, larger narrative that He has been writing since time began. He can fit all our stories together, making them each a part of His eternal story. My story has meaning and purpose because it is written by God as a part of His eternal story. My story finds its place of belonging as a part of God’s larger narrative.

I don’t know till I turn the page what God has in store for me next. (that’s walking by faith) But with God, every day is an adventure, making my story a real “page turner.” I will trust God to fill in the blank pages of my future and rest in His promise –

” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

trusting Him to write a better book of my life,

sincerely, Grace Day

day to day and door to door

Her story is compelling. I sat captivated as she recounted the events that have brought her to where she is today, which is speaking to a women’s prayer group as a candidate for public office. It has been a long journey for her and her family. She has come a long way, literally leaving her homeland behind, eventually making this country her own. So now I find myself spending my day to day going door to door. The last time I went door to door, I was in grade school selling Girl Scout cookies. Being a well-known commodity, those cookies practically sold themselves. People were always glad to see me.

Today my door to door is drastically different from my childhood door to door experience. How much of that is the passage of time and how much is the difference in product or purpose, is hard to say. Much has changed, most notably doorbells. I am discovering that almost everyone now has one of those newfangled, high-tech doorbells that light up and play a tune. But they do much more than that. There are video doorbells that record the person on the porch and connect to the homeowners’ phones. Recently, when I rang a neighbor’s doorbell, they spoke to me even though they were not at home, instructing me where to leave the item I was delivering to them. I wonder if I appeared foolish to passersby, having an out loud conversation with a closed door and no one in sight? Didn’t they realize I was conversing with the doorbell? (like that’s less foolish looking)

Anyway, things have changed in the door to door world. There are more “beware of dog” signs, more “no trespassing” signs and more home security signs, alerting visitors that this house is monitored by a home security system. One house I walk by on my regular walking route announces out loud as I approach, “You are now being recorded” even though I have not left the sidewalk and will not do so as I walk past. (I wonder what it would say if I left the sidewalk and stepped on their grass? – I have never done such a thing, so I don’t know the answer to this very basic question) But I digress –

There is a reason I have reentered the door to door world after all this time. I am campaigning for the candidate whose story I heard recently. This would appear to be a futile, impossible effort for her, as her opponent has held this seat for the past fourteen years. However, this immigrant, now citizen, believes in the American dream because she has lived the Communist nightmare before coming here. If she can persevere, I figure I can too. And so I have begun knocking on doors on her behalf, the most uncomfortable of all things to do, especially when one is not bearing cookies. I do feel like I’m bearing good news though – that voters have a choice, a chance for change, someone new who loves the country who gave freedom and opportunity to her and her family – namely this country.

And so I go day to day, door to door, on her behalf. I never know what awaits me on the other side of each door, but I knock anyway (or ring the high-tech doorbell) and wait while wondering what each encounter will bring. Will I be met with friendliness, skepticism, interest, curiosity, apathy, indifference, hostility, openness, receptivity, concern, questions, or coldness – responses run the gamut where politics are involved. Sometimes I am shut out, other times, I’m actually invited in. Life is full of unexpected surprises. (ok – that was redundant – a surprise by definition is unexpected – if it was expected then it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?)

Today is one of those perfect fall afternoons, having some of the warmth of summer with all of the colors of fall. Many people are out, so I don’t have to ring as many doorbells. Still, I think some Thin Mints would go a long way toward helping the conversation along. It’s awkward because what am I selling? a product? a person? Since in this case, the product is a person, the issue is especially confusing. What am I saying? offering? promising? – vote for this person and your life will get better? Really? Is that even possible? Politicians make us promises all the time. I think that is the definition of campaigning – making promises in order to get people to vote for you. Unfortunately, politicians are notorious for broken promises. Doesn’t matter the party affiliation – more promises are broken than are kept.

So what am I peddling door to door day to day? Hope? Possibility? The chance that a newcomer might do something different and change things for the better? I think so. Even after all the disappointments, we want to believe that the things that are wrong can be righted, that things can change for the better in the lives of average citizens with fair laws and just leadership. We do not give up hope. Every election is another chance, a fresh start. (or more of the same, if we keep electing the same people) But even as I campaign for this new to politics, immigrant candidate, I know that this is not where my ultimate, true hope lies. We can never put the unbearable burden of our hopes and dreams on another human being. None of us can bear up under that weight of the expectations of others. At some point we will disappoint others and we will be disappointed by others ourselves. It is inevitable as we are only human.

Nevertheless, I need to be able to hope in something or someone or life becomes meaningless. Proverbs 13:12 says,

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Lamentations 3:21-23 reminds me of this,

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

That’s where my true hope lies – not in another person, be it politician or pastor, but in my Heavenly Father. I can put my hope in Him because He is faithful, that is His character. Paul wrote to Timothy these words,

“if we are faithless, He (God) will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) I have this assurance from His word –

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

That’s why I can confidently put my hope in my Heavenly Father, because He is faithful and will not disappoint. Hebrews 10:23 says I can –

“hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

So even as I go door to door peddling a portion of hope for our country by participating in the democratic process, I am keenly aware that my true, and your true, dear readers, ultimate hope for today and for all our tomorrows, lies with our Heavenly Father alone. I can trust Him. You can trust Him, too. He is faithful.

“I wait in hope for the Lord; He is my help and my shield. In Him my heart rejoices, for I trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon me, O Lord, even as I put my hope in You.” (Psalm 33:20-22)

sincerely, Grace Day