by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.
Change is in the air. The cooler temperatures that autumn has been bringing lately have been a welcome relief from the hot Texas summer. But more pleasant days are the only changes I am welcoming this fall.This year’s Presidential campaigns have been filled with promises of change. The problem with this change is that I’m uncertain if who I want to be the next President of the United States will indeed be so. Whether I have cast my vote for a Democrat or Republican, I have cast a losing vote more often than a winning one. Of course, there is not yet a clear indication of who will indeed win this year’s election, since polls are still predicting a close race.
Speaking of polls — are you like me and wonder if you will ever get to be one of the 1,000 Americans who are given the power to speak on behalf of the rest of us? I’ve always questioned whether or not the few voices in a poll were truly capable of speaking for the other 300 million Americans. And for that reason, I continue to be amazed at how much credence is given to polling results.
Psychologists call it the bandwagon effect. You may have heard the phrase, “jumping on the bandwagon,” which is the observation that people often do and believe things because many other people do and believe the same things — regardless of any underlying evidence. And countless research studies have proven the bandwagon effect occurs in voting.
Perhaps this is why new poll results are published daily. Evidence has long proven that some people vote for those candidates or parties who are likely to succeed (or are proclaimed to succeed by the media). Since research evidence affirms that shifts in opinions can occur because individuals draw inferences from the decisions of others, I suspect we will continue to hear and read about polling results — however disproportionate and inconclusive they really are.
But a change of president for our country is not the only change I’m anxious about. Ill health, marriage troubles, career moves and relocation dominate the scene among my family members and propose many changes I’m not looking forward to. And my own age and dissatisfaction with past career and education choices has me indecisive about making future changes myself. Overall — at this moment — change just doesn’t feel like a good thing in my life. Or the anticipation of change fills me with more dread than expectation of good.
And yet remembering past examples of God’s sustaining care brings me to the conclusion that my best solution lies in the affirmation and guiding principle for many Americans — “In God we trust.”
My trust in God grows out of the fact that God doesn’t change. God doesn’t come and go. God isn’t sometimes available and sometimes not. God is good – always. God loves His children – always. God cares about His children and always wants what is best. His guidance will never fail us.
Sometimes change is needed and wanted. Other times change appears to be anything but good. But the only thing I am certain of is that regardless of the circumstances or even the outcome of an election, we can trust in God to lead us and our leaders to better times, to healing solutions, to restored confidence and renewed hopes — to progress.
Perhaps the Psalmist offered us the best assurance when he wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. (Psalms 139)
I’ll be trusting in this promise as I head into unchartered territory this fall. If you are facing changes you’re unsure about, I hope you can also find peace of mind and encouragement in knowing that God is there for you. You are not alone. You can depend upon God’s presence and help. And His promise of good is one thing you can always count on.