Friday, November 4, 2016
I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Psalm 145:1-5(NLT)
Somewhere in the wee hours of the night – perhaps during the rain delay just before the Chicago Cubs broke their 108 year non-championship streak with a World Series win over the Cleveland Indians (who, by-the-way, were only slightly less effective than the Cubs, having not won a World Series since 1948, and now own the distinction of being the longest losers on planet Major League baseball) – well, it was somewhere in the middle of all that baseball and nail-biting, big-time staying-up too late, I figured-out I have spent enough time staying up too late and nail-biting over a baseball game. I went to bed and waited for the morning to find out who won. Congratulations Cubbies, and hang-in there Cleveland; you played wonderfully, and if the Cubs are any indication, miracles still happen; maybe next year!
A second epiphany happened in the middle of the night concerning the staying-up too late, and all that nail-biting I’ve been doing over next Tuesday’s election.
Hi; I’m Russell, and I’m an election-aholic!
What dawned on me is that I’m done. No, I haven’t voted yet, I’m something of a traditionalist; it won’t feel right unless I get to the polling place and wait 3 months in line…so I’ll be voting on November 8th.
What I’m done with is placing so much attention on staying up late and nail-biting over the latest trend in the polls. I’m done worrying about what I can’t control, and definitely wouldn’t want to control anyway. I’m done with anxiety and election strategy!
Now, I’ve lived long enough, and sinned often enough to know that when you give something up, if you don’t replace it with something else, something else will rush-in to take the place of the something you gave up. It’s that way in nature and with human beings…there’s no such thing as a vacuum for very long. It’s like that vacuum-packed jar of pickles, or can of coffee you open…that sssshhhhhhhh sound you hear isn’t air escaping, it’s the outside air rushing-in to fill the emptiness. If you give-up smoking today, you’re liable to take up eating tomorrow. Give up drinking and you will find gambling makes a nice substitute!
So what’s an ex-nail-biting, stayer-up-too-late, election poll-worrying junkie supposed to do?
Well, he’s supposed to do exactly what he should have been doing all along – meditate, as the Psalmist suggested, on the glorious splendor and wonderful miracles of God; to let THAT replace the nonsense of a lesser-things vacuum between your ears, and fill your mouth with praise for, and exaltation of, the one true living God. When you begin to do THAT as your main diet of what you do with your day, there will be so much holy air rush in to replace what you gave up, there won’t be time to slip back into lesser things! You’ll be as Charles Wesley expressed it, lost in wonder, love and praise[ii]
I don’t doubt I’ll watch another World Series game, and I’m not saying I won’t notice who won the election, but I’ve given up the all-consuming task of being God about it. Besides, there are enough people on the ballot who already want that job.
If your team won (or lost) the World Series, or if your candidate wins (or loses) the election, how much difference is it going to make when you place that fact alongside the majesty and exaltation of Almighty God?
[ii] Charles Wesley, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, 1747