Our New President

I’ll admit it; I voted for John McCain. I like the guy and everything he stands for. What’s not to like and respect about a man who as a young P.O.W. turned down the opportunity to go home after his captors learned of his identity? To him, it seemed wrong and downright unethical to desert his fellow countrymen who were also being held as prisoners. That’s the kind of man I want in my foxhole, don’t you? Then there are the decades of experience in the Senate in which he was being honed and seasoned to be the leader of the free world. With our country at war, the economy in shambles, the healthcare system in a deplorable shape, I reasoned that his leadership skills were just what the nation needed.

 

However, America has spoken, and over half  feel that Barack Obama is the man for the job. There are several attributes that I admire about him, among them his cool demeanor, his keen intellect, and his evident ability to inspire faith and hope in those who are ready for change. It scares me a bit that he seemed to come out of nowhere and to have SO MUCH MONEY AND POWER compared to others with a longer, steadier track record. And yet, the voters have spoken.

 

Here’s another thought I had as I watched Obama’s family on election night. There they were: a father, a mother, and the children…a nuclear family in an age when the increasingly popular standard seems to be anything but. Perhaps he’ll be just the role model that young men need to encourage them to “step up to the plate” and accept the responsibilities of parenthood. Perhaps Michelle will somehow inspire young women to marry and then have children. No, I’m not bashing single parents. I am saying, however, that anyone reading this who doesn’t think there is some degree of “mother hunger” and “father hunger” hasn’t listened to the children, teens, and yes, even the adults of the U.S.A.

 

McCain valiantly fought the good fight and was gracious and gentlemanly in his election night speech. Perhaps Sarah Palin hurt his cause. Perhaps it was the economy. Maybe it was the legacy of the Clinton/Bush years. Then again, maybe it’s just that he represents the “old school,” and his fellow Americans are desperate for change.

 

Does the president-elect have what it takes to heal the nation’s wounds and forge “unity among diversity?” I hope so. He has my support and my prayers. From the advice he’s being badgered with from his supporters and well-wishers, he’s going to need all of our prayers. I once read that Billy Graham said he supported whoever was president at the time because of his fervent belief that whoever the man was, he was God’s choice for us at that time in history. Sure hope he’s right

Heavy Duty Prayer Book

Yesterday I read most of a little book entitled The Power of Prayer, a compilation of essays on prayer edited by Dale Salwak.  Often when reading a book like this, I’ll open it up and read a paragraph or two at random. If that section looks good, then I’ll read some more. If not, I’ll progress to another section. This book, however, was filled with such good stuff that I ended up going to the Table of Contents, checking out the contributors, and then reading the whole thing. Some of the essays are “heavy duty” and require so much pondering and ruminating (love that word) that I’m certain I’ll dip into this book frequently.

 

The mix of authors is as varied as their “takes” on the subject of prayer. Well-known religious leaders, professors, a Jewish spiritual storyteller, a native American earth wisdom teacher and author, professors, doctors, an actress (remember Dale Evans?), and others are included. Jimmy Carter is there; so is Billy Graham, both of whom have a lot of name recognition. Mother Teresa’s thoughts on prayer are there as well, and I particularly enjoyed reading them since I have such tremendous respect for this tiny little saint who lived and worked among the people of  Calcutta. The secret to her life of service and love is simple; “I pray.” Marianne Williamson, one of my favorite female authors is included, and she reminds the reader that “through prayer, we find what we cannot find elsewhere: a peace that is not of this world.”

 

While I enjoyed reading all of the selections, the one I’ve chosen to share today is from the work of Stella Terrill Mann, author of bestselling Change Your Life Through Prayer. This particular quote caught my eye because of a blogging buddy who’s currently asking the question, “Oh God, what’s next?” I sure hope she reads this post today. And I hope that others who are wondering where to go with their lives or what to do or what’s next will read it too.

 

“If you have a desire to do a thing, count it as proof positive that you can do it no matter what the obstacles. Desire and fulfillment are two sides of one whole. If it were not possible for you to fulfill the desire, it would not be possible to entertain it either. The desire is God’s silent plea to let Him work through you. It is God’s silent guarantee that He will see you through if you will but begin….The more sorely we are dissatisfied with our situation in life, the more tormented we are by an urge to do a thing, the more certain it is that God is  inviting us to take the step.”

 

Can you see why I chose that quote? Pretty powerful, huh? Mann, like the other writers on prayer, feels that the answers are there if we’d just learn to listen. For more effective listening, silence is needed. Hmmm. That’s a problem for most of us in this busy, hustle and bustle, noisy world, but I’m giving it a shot today because I need answers.

A Man on a Mission

I just finished reading The Preacher and the Presidents, a book about evangelist Billy Graham and his relationship with eleven U.S. presidents and their wives and families.  While I was at times bored with the details of political plans and strategies, I was fascinated with Dr. Graham’s basic character and his manner of reaching both the high and the low among us mortals.

Although I’ve never attended one of his crusades, I have listened to snippets of many of his sermons. I also have a daily devotional book of his that I purchased at a mountainside flea market and keep on my bookcase at work. It’s entitled Day by Day with Billy Graham, and it’s soothed my soul on many a crazy, stressful day. I’ve always known that he was a charismatic and effective evangelist, but I didn’t realize just how phenomenal he was (and is) until reading the book about his relationship with the presidents from Truman to Bush (both of them).

The essence of the book is that although Dr. Graham associated with the powerful movers and shakers of the world (yes the world), he always remained humble and spiritual. Certain of his mission to spread the good news of the gospel, he wasn’t wowed by money, fame, or fortune.  In fact, as I read about the presidents and other world leaders, I realized that Dr. Graham probably touched more lives in a positive way (worldwide) than any political leader. Even so, he was not without his critics and pundits. Amazingly, he was often cricitcized for being too forgiving, too conciliatory, and not judgmental enough. Huh??? And get this, many of those criticisms came from well-known religious leaders.

The gist of Dr. Grahams’s message is this: We all want to be loved, both the prince and the pauper, and God truly loves us all.  If you want to read details of luncheon dates, prayer breakfasts, golf matches, and traveling to Russia, read the book. My most lasting impression is that Billy Graham remained a man of integrity and faith despite his access to the rich and powerful.