Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Presidents Day! Thanks, Presidents!

I gave considerable thought to Presidents' Day before posting today. In my research, I found this day began as a way of celebrating George Washington's Birthday (our first U.S. president) and now it's a federal holiday that honors all presidents of the U.S. In celebrating this day, do we really acknowledge, with gratitude, what our presidents sacrificed and did for us? Why would anyone, including our current president, desire this position? What is it about the psyche of would-be presidents that makes them wake up in the morning and think it would be gratifying to take on the troubles of the world, to assume responsibility for the lives of 300 million Americans at a time when their lives are so precarious? And particularly now, in this moment of maximum crisis and hostilities -- wars and rumors of wars, health care, people without jobs, the national debt, ISIS, global warming, immigration issues, etc., why would ANYONE step up?

Some would answer that question of "Why do you want to be President?" by responding: ego, fame, fortune (just look at the book deals, speaking fees that follow even after a president has left office), etc. And, of recent campaigning by President Trump, and other candidates who ran for the office, they sincerely believe that they can fix what nobody else can fix. The ambition and drive that propel politicians to high office at a time of tribulation may convince them that deep problems are simply successes waiting to happen. Wonder if they followed Zig Zigar's famous quote "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

But, really, what about the crticism, the idea of living in a glass house where every thing you say and do, what you wear, what your spouse and children wear and do, is so highly scrutinized, having secret service with you 24/7, not being able to live a normal, every-day-run-of-the-mill life, and when you make a decision that you sincerely feel is the right one, backfires on you and your reputation takes another downward spiral of popularlity. And, here's a biggie -- Dr. Michael Roizen holds on to what he's said for a while: That presidents effectively age twice as fast while in office. We've all seen the difference of Day 1 of a new president in office and the day he leaves office. Even in the best of times, the presidency can be an enormous burden. Every American soldier killed abroad, every house foreclosed on at home, every monster storm from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean ultimately becomes his responsibility.

Whew! WHY? Somewhere in all that decision-making, every single one of our presidents, whatever party they represented, whatever good or bad decisions they made.....they stepped up to make a difference. I can't fault a single one of them for that. I can only express my appreciation for ALL of those who were willing to put their personal lives on hold for those years they held office and for the good they did....we are still here, thanking God that we live in American.....where, in the words of Lee Greenwood, "at least I know I'm free!"

Abraham Lincoln gets a lot of attention on this day because his birthday was also in mid-February. I remember lessons and activities about the presidents when I was in school, and hearing the faith of President Lincoln still inspires me. It is true that Lincoln never joined a church, although he attended church services regularly while President. The reason he gave for refusing to join a church was that he could "never be satisfied" with all the dogmas and creeds that the denominational churches of his day required. On this subject Lincoln wrote:

"When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and Gospel, 'Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul."

On this day of celebrating our Presidents, I'd like to say "Thank you" to ALL of those who have been willing to take this huge weight upon their shoulders. I honor them, each and every one.

President Lincoln said, "Let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear." That is key -- NOT trusting man, but trusting God and when we do that -- we can move forward without fear. Please join me in this prayer: "Forgive us, God, for the ways we have placed our hope in anything or anyone other than You. Forgive us for the times we should have been that rock to others, but instead we have been a source of anxiety as we vented our own fears and frustrations. Forgive us for when we should have been leading and expressing faith, but in expressing our doubt and dismay, we may have caused others to wonder whether You are a God in whom we can trust. And You most assuredly are. Make our faith stronger. Make our focus greater. We look to no man, but we do pray for our President. We pray for those who have the ear of our President, and that those who know You personally will not fear to speak what is true and what represents Your Word and Your heart. Whatever turn is next in the road, or the turn after that, or the turn after that—we pray that our faith would be stronger for what we have seen and endured. Let us love and give and serve and trust and spend ourselves for what really matters. Let us remain prayerful, grateful, and hopeful because of the promises You have given us. We consecrate ourselves, our families, our country, and our future, again, to You. In Christ's name we pray....Amen!

1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."