• What to Do When an Election is Over... Or not.


    My friend, the hospital chaplain hears one complaint more than any other.

    On her rounds to visit those asking for prayer and encouragement, she often finds people in pain because of surgeries or disease.

    But the most common form of suffering she encounters is not caused by scalpels or sutures, but by the mental anguish of waiting.

    When will I be wheeled down to the operating room? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever regain full use of my faculties?

    Coping with the results is often the easier road, because as Tom Petty iconically put it, the waiting is the hardest part.

    As you and I awakened this morning, the day after an election day that garnered the most participation of any US election in history, exposing our deep divide as a nation and putting ourselves in that same uncomfortable position. 

    How long until the race is decided? What will it mean to my daily life? What will it mean for our country?

    And while we can't speed along the results, there are a few things we can do.

    First, find a way to talk about your feelings. Not in a destructive, condescending, or judgmental way, but authentically, about how we're feeling and about what may be ahead. Vocalizing our emotions helps put us more in touch with ourselves, keeps us from the negative effects of bottling things up, and opens us up to the comfort offered by others.

    Second: Get outside, go for a walk, find a distraction, endlessly dwelling on something we can't do anything about Is detrimental to our health.

    And Third: Draw nearer to God. Times of uncertainty often motivate us to reconnect with that which is at our core. Pray, read scripture that puts things in perspective, and we discover that no election in the world can change God's love for us, God's provision for us, and God's promise never to leave us.

    I've compiled some of those scriptures below, please feel free to use them in your time of prayer and meditation.

    When it feels like there's nothing to hold on to, there's always God, and there are always God's people. Call me, call a parish member, if I know anything about our wonderful congregation, we are here for each other in stable and unstable times.

    Isaiah 41:10

    Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    John 16:22

    So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

    Matthew 6:25-34

    Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

    Philippians 4:6-7

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

    Matthew 11:28

    Come to me, all who are weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    John 16:33

    I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

    John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    James 1:2-3

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

    Deuteronomy 31:8-9

    The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

    1 Peter 5:7

    Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

    Matthew 19:26

    But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'

    Proverbs 3:3-6

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

    Psalm 46:1-3

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

    Romans 8:38-39

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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