Water. Simple H2O. We drink it, fish in it, splash each other with it in the summertime. Then in the winter, we shovel it, make snowmen out of it, and sometimes shovel it some more. And most significantly, at least here in the US of A, we tend to take it for granted, (our brethren in California notwithstanding.)
When the girls were in school, we were flying over St. Louis on a family vaca. It was just after an unusually disastrous downpour in the Midwest, and the aerial view of the city was amazing, sad, but amazing. St. Louis was basically under water. While up in the air, I was perusing a newspaper. Someone had taken sequential photos from the same deluge, again from an aerial viewpoint, of a beautiful big farmhouse next to a dam. The photographer caught it all: the dam breaking, the water rushing unrestrained toward the now-unprotected home, and the last shot is nothing but water. Just water.
By a higher definition then its chemical moniker, water is powerful, loaded with potential both for life and death. Thankfully, my house is not situated on a flood plain, but in a MUCH lesser degree, I know what it’s like when the water heater leaks, or the washer hose breaks (oh!). I also appreciate the garden hoses in the back yard that help keep my tomato plants alive in July and August. But in this, the water, powerful as it may be, is controlled, restrained, and therefore more usable.
Segway to another thought: Leadership is the same—intrinsically powerful, potentially giving life or death (in many ways other than merely physical), and needs proper channels. And as a Christian, it is of vital importance, imperative, that I use the main channel given to me by the Creator of all authority, God Himself. Here are two thoughts, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New, that seems to speak deeply of my responsibility concerning those in leadership over me:
“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.”(1)
“…The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”(2)
These two, juxtaposed with a plethora of other admonitions concerning our responsibility to pray for our leaders, to pray without ceasing (i.e. without giving up), to not grow weary in doing good (like praying for our leaders, et. al.), should give me pause. Especially at this time of impending elections in our country. Yes, they have free will and all that. I’m not overly concerned about the theological arguments on that front, but about my personal accountability in this matter. The mystery of it all is that He, for some divine reason and to whatever extent, chooses us to engage Him in the outcome.
Prayer is powerful, just like water is wet. And I serve a God Who can put that power into a hose and irrigated wherever He wishes. And in His unusual providential wisdom, He helps me hold the hose….!!!