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Prayerful Words

O God, I’m troubled. As I write these prayerful words to you, it is the middle of the afternoon on Election Day. I’m troubled by the fact that I have ten things I could be doing—that I should be doing—but I can’t sit still long enough to focus on even one of them. This anxiousness has me pacing around with questions that no one and nothing can answer:

What will happen at the end of this day?

Will every vote be counted?

Is there going to be violence?

How will those neighbors with opposing political signs in their yard treat each other from now on?

When will a victor be declared?

What have our children been learning from all of this, and what are they thinking right now?

What will the world look like tomorrow?

I breathe deeply, inviting your Spirit into the innermost thoughts of my restlessness. And in that moment of divinely granted tranquility, I realize that time will answer most of those questions…but not all of them. The not knowing has me troubled like I was when I got separated from my parents at the amusement park; troubled like I got when the horse under my legs had a fright and started bucking wildly; troubled like I felt when my girlfriend told me she didn’t want to be with me anymore; troubled like I became when the tire blew out on the van full of teenagers when it was going 70mph on that highway in the middle of nowhere; troubled, troubled, troubled… But I’m here. I’m still here, delivered through what I found so overwhelming in those moments and freely pacing the floor with these questions.

I don’t know what tomorrow will look like, but I know that you will be there to meet me in the challenges and blessings of that unknown horizon as surely as you walked with me through the worries of the past, and as surely as you stand with me in this temporary moment. Help me, then, O God, to not just read and recite those timeless words from the psalmist, but to trust them, have faith in them, and take courage in them: “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Thank you, Shepherd God, for calming me with your good trouble that splits water to set people free from oppression, that breaks water to birth new life, and that churns up the placid waters of our indifference about the disconcerting state of things so that we would wake up and do something about them. Breathing deeply of your spirit on this anxious afternoon, I realize yet again that I am not destructively troubled by this moment, but I am constructively troubled by your goodness that requires disorienting change for something new and good to happen. Whew. Amen.


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