My car has no idea where I’m going and yet every time I get in to start it up, it warns me to fasten my seatbelt with a little warning light blinking insistently, as if it knows that the road ahead holds dangers, some that could prove life-threatening. Through 50 years of driving — not always accident-free — I’ve learned to heed its cautious warning.
As a nation, we are about to embark on a journey in a vehicle that is unfamiliar to many of us, with a driver who has shown himself to be a bit erratic, unwilling to follow established rules of the road, and given to a few too many moments of road rage. It also seems that the GPS system in this new car tends to take passengers on surprising side roads, sudden changes of direction, and into new and not well-mapped territory. Seatbelts will be mandatory.
Despite not yet knowing for sure what the destination will finally be, it may well prove to be quite the journey. We may well end up at Disney World, though so far it feels like a dizzying world where up and down and in and out have often changed places almost daily.
The Bible encourages heartfelt prayers be raised for all leaders of government. Good government has long been held to be a good gift of God for the safety, feeding and ordering of the world. The next four years may teach us all the importance of such a vigorous prayer life. But the Bible also has a warning system, one that says we are to be obedient to God’s direction of living — especially when leaders invite or demand our participation in directions contrary to God’s purpose for the common good of all the world. Then we are to speak up, act up, turn up and resist such misdirected leadership. It’s not offered as an option but a duty that says we must obey God, not man (in this case).
I’ve recently downloaded an update to help guide my own internal GPS in light of our recent election and selection of President Trump (yes, he is my president, too). Three quotes from a small publication called “The Sun” from December 2016 have brought a bit of assurance to my left-of-center heart.
▪ “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” (James Baldwin).
▪ “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say, ‘This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.’” (Studs Terkel).
▪ “It is the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” (Mohandas Gandhi)
I intend to pray more and pay closer attention to warning lights and alarms that go off if we stray from the road we’re called to travel for the sake of all God’s children and world. I invite you to do the same.
Kim Latterell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.