Have you ever been dragged somewhere you didn't want to go? To court? To a difficult conversation? To the doctor? Have you ever been under the authority of someone you did not choose? Did not trust?
This morning I was sitting at my kitchen table eating Count Boo Berry cereal with my children. My unopened ballot lay on the table before me. I think mixing our national election cycle with the foreboding scare and dark themes of Halloween is not ideal. Perhaps if our election season was in the Spring we'd be more hopeful. This morning I was grateful for the story of Ezra.
The book of Ezra follows the people of Israel in captivity. They've been conquered, defeated, and enslaved. Their cities lay in ruin. Their temple was burnt to the ground. And yet. God was still in control. Able to move. Helpful. Compassionate. The same as before. The book shows how God draws his people back to Israel to rebuild the temple.
"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 'This is what Cryus king of Persia says: "The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.'" Ezra 1:1-2
You see it don't you? God is able to move the hearts of anyone. Even leaders you don't like. We can calm down and trust our Father.
"Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both morning and evening sacrifices." Ezra 3:3
Despite your fear of people around you. Love them anyway. Sacrifice to the Lord. I'm not promising you safety. I'm not promising it won't hurt. The very nature of a sacrifice is painful. However, I will promise you that love is the best weapon against fear.
"For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." Ezra 7:10
Decide today. Where is your devotion? To a political party? Ideology? Sports team? Plan on being disappointed. It's likely you'll be dragged somewhere you do not want to go. Your best outcome may end in a tie. I'm staking my future on devotion to the Lord. I mess that up almost daily. But He does not.
"What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this." Ezra 9:13
People keep asking me "how did we end up with this mess of an election?". Oh dear heart. It was our fault. We as a nation have chased after greed. We've ignored the cries of poverty. We've played when we should have worked. We have thought we could do whatever we wanted and escape any consequence. We've treated what is sacred as profane. We've judged. We've hated. We've kicked God out. We've sold our children. There are narratives on both sides of the election that are true. AND YET. Take Courage dear heart. God is faithful. He champions peacemakers and rebuilders. He equips those going to battle to restore.
"Rise up; this matter is in your hands, We will support you, so take courage and do it." Ezra 10:4
I'm going to vote. The full ballot. I'd ask you to do the same. Even if you have great questions at the top of the ballot. Read the rest of the pamphlet and vote on your bond measures, vote for your city councils and your state leaders. Put a stamp on the ballot and mail it off.
Say a prayer.
Trust your Father.
And then. Get to work. Fight Fear. Build bridges. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Feed the hungry. Visit those in jail. Hug your kids.
"It's okay to pray a hedge of protection around those you love - God is our Refuge, our Shield, But He is also our Banner - the God who goes before us, the God who fights for us! Jesus didn't die just to keep you safe. He died to make you dangerous!" Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion
This is an interesting view this week. The Bible Project again draws us to look at the big picture. The story of the Bible charging forward through history to the culmination of the need for a Savior. This one made me ponder.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
Sign up to receive Mindy's Quirk-E-Mails