Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Prayer for Sarah

I don't think any of us really know what kind of person Sarah Palin is. There seem to be a couple of extremes of thought, to be sure - some of her most ardent fans would claim that she is the savior of the Republic, her enemies paint her as a danger to everything American, a Bible-thumping "fundamentalist" idiot. Both of these extremes almost certainly leave something to be desired.

Despite my initial positive gut reaction to her, therefore, I had withheld final judgment until we could see more of her. What I found was that I was watching the wrong person.

Sarah Palin is what she is. She is a human being - a driven and successful American woman. She is very much like many of us - with some weaknesses, some strengths, some tragedies, some joys. I'm sure that we could learn a lot about her, given more time, and our opinions might change for the better or for the worse. I find, however, that I am learning more about Sarah Palin from her enemies.

She has been in the public eye for a very few weeks. In that time, she has inspired a kind of rage and vitreol I've not seen before in my lifetime. She has been accused of graft and corruption - no evidence could be found. She has been accused of being a political novice - I've tried to figure out how on earth that could be a bad thing. She has been attacked for having too many children. She has been ridiculed for her down-home persona. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign money have been spent to dig up dirt on her...the result? She tans.

She has been interviewed by our "elite" media sneeringly and mockingly. She has been asked unanswerable questions, then bashed for not answering to their satisfaction, then dismissed as stupid and naive. Her 17-year-old daughter has been exposed to a ridiculous level of scrutiny for becoming pregnant then doing the most responsible thing and keeping the baby and marrying the father. She has had her personal emails hacked, stolen, and then leaked in a barely-reported federal crime. Her husband has been accused of incest, and her special-needs son was offered for sale on eBay by some of the radical liberals who oppose her.

All of this combines to reveal something. Although we don't know Sarah Palin very well by her own words and actions yet, we are learning much about her from the people who despise her. She is hated with a kind of hatred I've never before seen in this country. The term "rabid" comes to mind. These are the people who want to run our country.

With all this in mind, my family and I have been praying for Sarah this week. We will be praying for her tonight before and during her debate - lifting her up to a merciful Father in prayer. I do this partly because I think that someone like her might be good for a change - the other three people involved in this contest are all parts of the problem to varying degrees, in my opinion. And I do this partly because I hurt for her and her family. It hurts me that this is what happens when we send one of our normal American citizens to Washington. They are given a choice between corruption and personal destruction. She chose to be strong, so she and her family must pay the price of their insolence against the power structure.
I want to be clear about this. I am not making the claim that Palin is "God's candidate" or anything of the sort. I am not even praying that she wins the debate tonight necessarily. The election will go as God wills, if we will pray to Him about it. What I am praying for is that her enemies who have attacked her and her innocent family so cruelly and without basis and without mercy will be thouroughly confounded and put to shame.
I invite all of you to pray for Sarah today and tonight. I ask you to pray for her family. She must be under a kind of pressure few of us can even fathom. You and I know, however, that the One to whom we pray is greater than all of this, and is able to make her personally victorious, even if not outwardly. I invite you to pray with me for our very sick country, that God will heal it. Surely this is not the America our forefathers envisioned. I am praying that her enemies will become confused, that God will protect his daughter with his angels, that He will prepare her mind and spirit for the battle tonight, and that God's perfect will will be done. I offer the following verses from His Word as thought points as we go into spiritual battle along with her...

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."
- Deuteronomy 20:1-4
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
-Deuteronomy 31:6

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened."
- 1 Peter 3:14

... say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."
Isaiah 41:10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

- Isaiah 35:4

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
Psalm 20: 7-8

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Psalm 28:8

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
Psalm 31:24

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Ephesians 6:10
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
- 2 Timothy 3:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
- 1 Peter 4:12-14, 16
But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;therefore my persecutors will stumble;they will not overcome me.They will be greatly shamed,for they will not succeed.Their eternal dishonorwill never be forgotten.
- Jeremiah 20:11
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Matthew 5:10-12
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
- John 15:18-20

Hang in there Sarah. You are not alone in this.