Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our Hope

This past Tuesday was Election Day in Virginia. I spent it with some of my favorite people, Generation Joshua students, working on a Student Action Team. After a long day of GOTV (Get-Out-The-Vote) efforts - frigid early morning sign-waving, knocking on thousands doors, making thousands of phone calls, and in my case, hundreds of u-turns driving the team van - we all gathered that night for what we so hoped would be a victory party. It was time to talk, pray, and wait while anxiously watching the election results come in.

Our race was breathtakingly close. Minutes melded into hours, precincts reported one by one, and our candidate balanced on the edge of a knife – down by 63 votes, up by 24 votes, and on, and on. Each update held the agonizing potential for victory or defeat, success or failure. I looked around the room, realizing that if it meant this much to me, how much more was at stake for those who had spent years working towards this night. Politics is not politically correct; there are real winners and losers.

Around 11 p.m. it was announced that the race was too close to call that night. With all but one precinct reporting, our candidate was down by about 120 votes. He still had a chance, and we all cheered and clapped, but it was a subdued crowd that slowly dispersed. Many put on a confident face, but there were more than one pair of misty eyes. As I followed my Gen J team out into the crisp, chilly night air, a lump formed in my throat and stayed with me the whole drive back to our hotel. We could very well lose.

Across Virginia, five other SAT teams were also watching their results come in – some winning, some losing. Naturally, my mind wandered to the obvious questions – did we not do enough? Did we do something wrong? Why, God, why? Please, God, please. In Generation Joshua, elections are about so much more than power and politics. It is why I so love the organization: we work for something higher, believe in something greater. Electing the right person to office could mean the saving of innocent lives, freedom for believers, and peace for families. Winning isn't just about team spirit, but truly making a difference.

But who really makes the difference? That morning I had read in Psalms 39, “Lord, who do I wait for? My hope is in You.” In looking up this passage again, I also found, “no king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength” (Psalm 33:16). The great mystery of serving an all-powerful God is just that: He is all-powerful! We demonstrate our faith in him by our actions, but our actions alone are nothing. “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect,” therefore, “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord's!” His ways are higher than our ways. It is ours to have faith, ours to act, ours to hope and trust.

Just before midnight I learned that the last precinct had come in, and our candidate was up by 86 votes. A mere 86! No doubt it took every door knock, every phone call, every volunteer to put us over the finish line. It took Generation Joshua organizing the Student Action Teams, it took HSLDA endorsing the candidates, it took the candidate and his family following God's call to run in the first place! And there's the key – God's call. The proof of God's work is not in winning or losing, but doing what he asks of us; what is good and right. Victory is in faithfulness, success in standing firm. In the simple, profound words of John Quincy Adams, “duty is ours, the results are God's.”

It took a full twelve hours for our results to sink in, but the tears of happiness and gratitude finally flowed (for me, anyways). Official results still hang in the balance, with a recount looming. But if the results stand, it will be the second time since the Civil War that Virginia is governed by a pro-life, pro-family, conservative majority in its executive leadership and both bodies of the Virginia Legislature. In a time when our country is in great need for Godly leadership, praise God that He is still answering the prayer of King David; “Let your mercy, oh Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in you!”

Grace Tate is a member of the Generation Joshua Leadership Corps.

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