She looked exhausted because she was.
It was 8:00AM.
She was dressed in a bathrobe and slippers, her hair was disheveled. The baby had been up a few times through the night – the final time early. Her little girl had demanded breakfast; it was hastily made.
The TV was playing cartoons.
It was the beginning of another day in the life of a young mother.
So the doorbell this early was more than an annoyance. It was an intrusion.
“Excuse me ma’am.” The man at the door was neatly manicured and organized. He held a clipboard and offered a polite smile. “I’m in the neighborhood this morning helping to conduct a public opinion survey. What do you think is the most serious problem facing America today? Is it ignorance or is it apathy?”
The little girl appeared at the doorway, clutching her mother’s bathrobe and staring at the man. The baby sucked on a bottle contentedly in the mother’s arms.
The young woman breathed a gentle sigh.
“I don’t know,” she answered, “and this morning I don’t really care.”
We appreciate the humorous irony and candor of the reply.
“Yes,” we think, “that’s just how I feel sometimes.”
Here we all are in this country – once again – just a few days away from another national election. The airwaves are filled with campaign ads – attacking, bragging and begging.
Most of us are concerned about the direction of our nation – and the unsettled and dangerous state of the world. The President’s approval rating is low – almost as low as Congress.
We don’t like the way things are.
We want change.
We don’t know who can deliver it; we’re not sure anyone can.
Americans are angry with Washington and its repeated failures – and disillusioned.
This is good campaign weather for ignorance and apathy.
As someone said, “It only encourages them.”
Millions will stay away from the polls next Tuesday. Don’t you be one of them.
For all her faults – and the weaknesses of her leaders – America remains the greatest, freest and most wonderful nation on earth. And being an American isn’t just some lucky break, it is a continuing responsibility.
In a free land, duty is the greatest privilege of citizenship. And our greatest duty is to vote.
We are able to openly complain; we have the right to speak and criticize and tell others – including the government – what we think because of the vote.
We declared ourselves a free and independent nation because our founders voted to make us so.
We created the greatest form of self-government in the history of the world because the men who bravely fought to make us free voted to keep us that way. The Constitution of the United States came into being through a vote. So did the Bill of Rights.
And the expansions and protections of American freedom came to us through the vote. The Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, was adopted only after vigorous debate – and a vote.
African-Americans, women and young people gained the right to vote only after others voted to give them that right.
Of all the rights that make us free – and define us as a republic- none matters more than the right – and the sacred duty – to vote.
Of all the acts of citizenship that have shaped our history, raised up our leaders and marked our destiny as a nation, none have played a more important role than voting.
As believers in a transcendent and sovereign God, we do not place our final faith in the efficacy of politics and government. Christians, of all people, should not permit an earthbound attitude to overtake our heavenly hope and rob us of our joy in the midst of national despair.
Our confidence is not in a platform, a candidate, a movement or a party. We do not trust politics to bring us salvation. Nor do we look to government to meet the deepest needs of the soul. Sometimes we have to learn – and re-learn – that lesson the hard way.
The psalmist warns us:
“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there…When they breathe their last [reminding us of the fragile mortality of even the greatest leaders], they return to the earth and all their plans die with them….But joyful are those whose hope is in the Lord their God.” [Psalm 146: 3-5, NLT].
Still, the scriptures underscore the importance of good citizenship – and our responsibility to honor government.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2, KJV).
While God governs in the affairs of nations, each of us must do our part in determining that outcome. No one can read Romans 13 without appreciating the importance God places on government and citizenship; on each one of us being accountable for our political freedom.
Every vote counts; every election matters.
And so many of them are so very close.
Not to vote – no matter how we may feel at the moment about our choices – is to sin against the Author of our liberty.
Don’t forget this coming Tuesday.
Who knows, maybe you’ll see that young mother at the polls.
May God bless you and your family.