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Bill Horner for week of July 19, 2012

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By Bill Horner

We cast our vote, but God sways our leaders

 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).
 It’s that time again. It’s an even-numbered year. Signs are popping up like wildflowers, or like crabgrass, depending on your point of view. Some candidates are making brash promises they cannot possibly keep. Others are slinging mud at their opponents to keep the spotlight off themselves. Still others are individuals of integrity, honestly seeking to serve the people of our county, state, or nation.
 Politics has held my fascination since I was a young boy. It’s almost as exciting, or as grievous, depending on whether your candidate wins or loses, as a good college football game. As I have grown older, my fascination has often turned to disgust as I have witnessed the shenanigans of both office-seekers and office-holders. And it is true what they say—people that like laws and sausage should not watch either one being made. Politics seems to spellbind me and repulse me, all at the same time.
 Nevertheless, I always seek to the best of my ability to cast an informed vote. Voting for a candidate because of his party affiliation alone is not casting an informed vote. “But my daddy and his daddy, going back generations always voted for”—fill in the blank with either “Republican” or “Democrat.” While we all tend to vote one way or the other, neither party has a stranglehold on truth and righteousness.
 God has given us a great blessing in this country, the right to a voice in our own government. Therefore, casting a vote is a great responsibility. As often as we are admonished at election time to get out and vote, I urge folks not to vote if they do not know the candidates. Abstaining from voting is better than casting an ignorant vote. But again we are blessed in this country. With free speech abounding in the news media, on the internet, even by word-of-mouth, it is possible for anyone to be at least somewhat informed about the candidates.
 Norwood, for instance, was one of the godliest men I ever knew. He was a waterman and a deacon at the church I pastored near the east coast. He was a simple, uneducated man but loved the Lord and was blessed with good common sense. When he prayed in public, you could feel his awareness of the Lord’s presence as he spoke.
 One Sunday night during an even-numbered year, Norwood approached me tentatively with something obviously weighing on his mind. “Pastor,” he began, “I know you might have already made up your mind who to vote for, but please hear me out. McCready is a decent, honest man, and I believe he would make an outstanding county commissioner. He would be good for this county. He is my neighbor, and I have come to know him well. I know you’ll try to vote wisely. I just wanted to tell you what I know about him.”
 I appreciated Norwood’s candor. Actually we did not know McCready or his opponent Bozman. But I had heard that Bozman was a good, competent man as well. Both men were professing Christians. Now I was not sure who to vote for. It was nice for a change to have to decide between two goods instead of between two evils.
 About a week later McCready made the rounds of our neighborhood campaigning door to door. I was out, but Marcia asked him a few questions at our door and was impressed with his answers and his whole demeanor. We finally decided to vote for him.
 After the election, when all votes had been counted, McCready was declared the winner. The official tally showed him ahead of Bozman by two votes! If Marcia and I had voted for Bozman, he would have won. In the end that is really nothing significant. God is the one who establishes the leaders and sways them.
 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).