As the tell-tale signs of a crisp fall begin to make the shortening days of rural Ohio more enjoyable, I am eagerly anticipating the joys of Winter. Winter is my least favorite of the four seasons, so I must focus on the things that make Winter enjoyable for me. I love playing Fox in the Henhouse in the snow with my kids just like my Grandmother did with her kids and my dad did with his. I enjoy using the snowblower to clear the sidewalks on my street. As a high school science teacher, I enjoy the occasional snow day off from school as much as any student. What I really look forward to doing during Winter is curling up on the couch with a heavy blanket and a book. I generally read for enjoyment rather than as a mental exercise or for self-help purposes, so I generally stick to Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. Last Winter, I finally read Ender's Game and many of its sequels. Many Winter's I find myself re-reading Lord Of The Rings or The Chronicles Of Narnia. Even though I am not reading these novels for any real mental exercise or to discover some new truth to apply to my life I find that there is usually some truth to be found.
According to most reports, there were 80 million people that tuned in to watch the first Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Like the over 80 million other viewers, I couldn't resist the temptation to turn on the television and see if it was going to be the spectacle that everyone was expecting it to be. After about ten minutes, I remembered why I had originally decided that I was not going to watch the debate. Not only was my candidate of choice (Gary Johnson) not allowed to participate in the debate, but I also have decided that I refuse to buy into the culture of fear that defines the current presidential election along with the entire United States political system. Upon realizing that listening to the candidates argue over releasing their tax returns and deleted emails to the public was not a good use of my time, I turned off the television and went to bed. As I reflected today on the past year and how we have come to the point where people are literally gripped with fear about who the next president will be, I was reminded of many of the great quotes about fear that I have picked up over the years from the books I have read.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert's Dune
In Frank Herbert's Science Fiction classic Dune, the Litany Against Fear is used by the main character, Paul Maud'dib (Atreides) to calm his mind during several of the more intense parts of the story. Whether you are watching videos of potential voters discussing their favorite conspiracy theories, or reading that chain email about all of the ways that candidate plans to destroy America, it is obvious that fear really is "the mind-killer."
Fear cuts deeper than swords.
Arya Stark from George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones
Do you feel dirty for even considering to vote this November? Do you need some one to find a biblical justification, or any justification, that will allow you to do something that you never thought you would/could ever do? Look no further than Jerry Falwell Jr., Dr. Robert Jeffress, or Wayne Grudem. The fact that justifications need to be given to vote for a candidate speaks volumes about how much the other candidate is feared. That fear has a way of slicing right through to a person's heart and exposes the idols that we put our trust in. Idols like security, freedom, wealth, and the American Dream.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand or say to him,
“What have you done?” Daniel 4:34-35 (ESV)
I can't help but feel that Christians are unable to honestly repeat the praises of God that were uttered by King Nebuchadnezzer in the passage from Daniel above. This election cycle makes it clear that there are many Christians that don't actually believe in God's Sovereignty over what happens. They confuse His will "among the inhabitants of the earth" with their own will for America. This election cycle is crazy and I am not without concerns over who should lead our country. However, I have come to a place where I have faith in the knowledge that the person who swears in as the next president is unable to do one single thing without God allowing it to happen. I have a feeling that, no matter who wins the upcoming election, there will be many Christians who will be left questioning God and asking "What have you done?"