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Nov 19, 2012

Was Our Effort a Waste? – Lessons from Election Day, 2012

Tracy Klicka

During election weekend my three children still at home volunteered to do what they could as non-voting age citizens to help make a difference in Tuesday’s presidential election. We live in a county in northern Virginia where every single vote could make a real impact on the overall result in the election in our state. They made hours of phone calls, walked several miles and knocked on thousands of doors with a team of over 60 kids and parents over four days.

They did indeed have some challenges that weekend, but I was proud of how they pressed through them with God’s help:

  • Charity sprained her ankle the first day, but that didn’t stop her from going door-to-door. She was committed for the long haul, (or the long limp!)
  • Amy got yelled at by an unhappy citizen who was tired of getting campaign phone calls and door-knockers; by God’s grace, my quiet, shyer child remained nonplussed and cheerful.
  • My son John didn’t just walk door-to-door; he ran! He was a bundle of upbeat energy putting up lawn signs and handing out literature for Mitt Romney and Virginia’s conservative candidates. Even when, after hours of hard work he got tired, I was told by his team leader and legal assistant at HSLDA that John stayed focused, encouraging the other boys on his team with humble leadership skills.

Hoping to have at least a strong showing for our three conservative candidates, we went to bed that night, praying for God’s help with the election results, and trusting Him for His wise plan, regardless of the outcome.

The next morning when my children saw that two of their three candidates lost the statewide election in Virginia, they were dismayed. They know God is all-wise and all-powerful, but they couldn’t help be disheartened by the results to all the effort they made.

One of the first responses Charity had was, “I feel like my hard work was a waste. We didn’t even win our county, after the thousands of doors we knocked on.” As a mom who just watched her three youngest children work very, very hard for four days with great focus, self-denial and cheerfulness, I was sincerely feeling their pain and disappointment. “Oh, Lord, how can I encourage these young people?” I silently prayed.

After searching the scriptures for what might inform the hearts of my children, I discovered four truths to help them (and me!) respond to the disappointing election results with faith and hope in the Lord;

1. Our labor is not in vain when we do it unto the Lord.  My late husband Chris’s favorite verse was 1 Corinthians 15:58, which says,

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

With advanced MS, which came with many falls, injuries, and increasing limitations, Chris was regularly tempted to think his life didn’t amount to much. He loved to share the gospel, mentor our children and other young people in Christ, and devoted his life to protecting and advancing homeschooling freedoms. He stood on 1 Corinthians 15:58 even when it became nearly impossible to stand or walk.

Likewise, our efforts to please God and work for His glory matter. This includes studying, doing chores, serving our families, honoring parents, running a household, loving our spouse, sharing the gospel, ministering to the needy, and yes, even doing campaign work. We might not see the good results we work, hope and pray for, but we can know, in God’s eternal, holy perspective, it is surely not in vain.

2. God is sovereign over all nations, rulers and history. While my children and I were disappointed that more candidates who support a biblical definition of marriage and life did not win in this year’s election, we can take great encouragement in remembering God is the sovereign King over the universe. The Bible clearly declares God’s power and authority over all men and nations:

“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.” ~2 Chronicles 20:5-6

Regardless of how the election results came through, ultimately no one can stand against God. His purposes and plans will stand. We work with all our might as unto the Lord, knowing ultimately He is the one who establishes kings and removes kings.

3. It is God who gives the victory.

“There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” ~Proverbs 21:30-31

My children, along with over 1,600 young homeschooled students and their parents were very prepared for Election Day. They had literature and talking points, enthusiasm and conviction. They had walking maps and phone numbers to call. I certainly had prepared my ‘horse’ for the day of battle, driving my SUV through neighborhood after neighborhood to get these kids to the doors they needed to knock on. Proverbs 21 reminds us, however, that no matter how prepared man is, victory belongs to the Lord. Had our candidates won on Election Day, we still could not take the credit; the triumph always goes to our God alone.

4. We need endurance!

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” ~Hebrews 10:35-36

What should motivate us most in this life is knowing that there is an eternal reward awaiting us at the end of this life if we are in Christ. The power to endure comes from God’s promise, not that we are guaranteed to see victory in this life necessarily, but surely are in the next. Knowing that heaven is our real home and that we have a great reward coming is very freeing for Christ’s followers. We can press on in faithfulness, doing good, and working for righteousness, while asking our all-wise, all-powerful God for His blessing and help, and leaving the outcome of all our efforts in His hands.Press on in the journey!

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