Election Day to Thanksgiving


Randy Riley - Contributing Columnist



As we watch the never-ending parade of days, weeks and months go marching past, our next big event will be Thanksgiving. Whew, I’m glad it’s almost here. Lately, there have been times that people have struggled to find anything to be thankful for.

It makes no difference where you live in this great country. Your race, religion, gender or political affiliation make no difference. None of that matters. We all have had reasons to worry. We will always have reasons to worry about our country. That’s only natural, but we also always have reasons to be thankful – very thankful.

The United States of America has been and will always be great. Let us never forget that we have the privilege of living in the greatest country in the entire world. Do we have problems? Do we have reasons for concern? Sure. But, we also have the strength and determination to overcome challenges, to protect the weak, to feed the hungry, to provide shelter and clothing to those in need.

Some people will always argue about whether we should call ourselves a Christian nation and whether we truly have the obligation to help others. Argue all you want. We help others because it is the right thing to do. Sure. These are things that we are taught to do in Sunday School. These are things that Jesus taught his disciples to do. He then sent them out into the world to teach all people that helping others will always be the right thing to do.

Some people choose not to follow the teaching that are in the Bible. They may never call themselves Christian. That’s their choice. But, we still need to care for one another. That is just the right thing to do.

In our Sunday School class, we just finished a two-month class on prayer – how to pray, when we pray, why we pray, what to expect after we pray. It has been an eye-opening and at times confusing program. We all know that our prayers, hopes and expectations are not always fulfilled. But it is important to note that how we deal with good times says less about our character than how we deal with disappointment.

When our prayers are answered, we smile and say, “Thank you, Lord.” When our prayers not answered, we might get frustrated or even angry. Regardless, we need to accept what happens and move forward in a positive manner.

If our prayers were always answered in just the way we asked, everyone would pray, but the answers to our prayers would be in conflict. Not everyone wins. Not everyone gets what they want or pray for. If everyone prayed for their team to win and God answered every prayer, who would ever lose a game?

God is not our omnipotent Santa Claus who gives us whatever we ask for. We don’t always get what want.

But, we continue to pray. That’s what we do as individuals and as a nation. Eventually, we move on.

It has been 40 years since I voted for a Democrat. I thought that Jimmy Carter could help heal our post-Watergate nation. It didn’t happen. Jimmy Carter is fine man, but he couldn’t completely heal this country. It would be nearly impossible to say that the nation was in better shape when he left, than it was when he won the election in 1976. Jimmy Carter was a good man, but he just wasn’t up to the task.

Today, there are still demonstrations taking place in the streets of some major cities by people who are angry because of the outcome of the election. They certainly have their First Amendment right to gather and to demonstrate, but there is no excuse for violence. We must accept that which has happened. As a nation, we must move on and work together to keep our nation great.

The election is over. Thanksgiving is on our doorstep. Let’s focus on the positive. We have so much to be grateful for. Dwelling on the negative … just keeps the negative in focus. Let’s move on to the positive.

One of the things we were taught this past month in our Sunday School class about prayer is that we should always include in our prayers the phrase, “Thy will be done.”

We should always pray for wisdom to know the right thing to do, and we should pray for strength to do that which is right and proper.

We will get past the election of 2016 and we’ll move on together, as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.

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Randy Riley

Contributing Columnist