I love the beginning of autumn. Back to school sales help me stock my paper products, I'm ready for some cooler weather, making soup is beckoning me, the looming stack of firewood reminds me of coming into my warm home from the cold. And the temptation to listen to the election stuff is strong.
I was a political news junkie and that's no exaggeration. I was exhilarated by a well spoken presentation by my candidate of choice. I'd swell with excitement and hope for my nation in the hands of a candidate I truly believed was a noble person. I enjoyed the political banter and debate with my dad. My sister and I were the source of much confusion for my poor dad, who just couldn't understand how we couldn't vote for his candidate. But, I don't believe I can impact my world through political affiliation, and with a limited amount of time and energy, I can't afford to waste either on politics.
Last night my husband expressed his concerns about his business for the first time. By spring of this year, orders and profits had shrunk to less than half of what they were in 2009. The last few months have been worse, as there are always slowdowns in his industry before a national election. It's as though they all hold their collective breath... and wait.
I have been poor and I have had more than enough - so I can make it through whatever we face in the future. But last night, I was troubled when I went to bed. The old habit of making mental contingency plans for financial disaster was niggling at the edge of my mind, tempting me to come up with solutions to all the "what ifs." I thought about the election, then pushed it from my mind.
This morning as I started Bible study, I couldn't concentrate. I needed to give this to God and get it out of my way. I think for the first time ever, I let the Holy Spirit say to God what I had no words for. I took a deep breath and relaxed. I closed my eyes and bowed my head and just placed myself in God's presence.
I said nothing, but could feel His spirit repair, soothe and calm me. I'm still his daughter - regardless of what happens to our finances, my husband's business or the election. Drawing close to God this morning, in this quiet way, I felt relieved and unburdened.
In 2 Timothy, Paul is writing just before his murder. He knew it was coming, "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure." (vs. 6) What was his state of mind? "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (verse 18).
Paul remembered that his only valuable possession was his soul. As long as that was preserved, he was safe. He had no retirement plans, vacation dreams or car repairs that burdened him. It was simple. It is simple.
The election is a temptation for the old way of doing things. The times when I thought it was essential that I monitored the things in my control and believed they were truly in my control. I held so tightly to things I didn't want to lose, my hands were too full to receive what God wished to give me.
It's truly exhausting to think you're in charge of everything, that with enough force you can stop storms from touching you. We live on a stormy planet. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, as it says in the Bible. But there is an eye to the storm, a place of peace within it, that is beyond the imagination, and you've been invited to find rest there.
When have you felt that unimaginable peace while enduring a storm?