With "only" 18 months to go until the election of a new US president, the campaign is in full swing. I lean toward a particular party, and I've already favored a particular candidate for some time.
As I thought about the election campaign today, though, I had an insight that spoke like this: "I don't want my candidate to win – I want Yours to win."
The "Yours" in question was not my spouse or a trusted friend or an experienced political analyst. It was God. It dawned on me that if there were a right candidate in the eyes of supreme wisdom, then I would want that candidate to win an election even if from the standpoint of personal preference I chose to root for – or even work for – someone else.
I had to wonder, though, could anyone really be "God's chosen candidate"? I don't see God as a magnified human intelligence weighing up candidates to see whom to persuade millions of voters to pick to be president or any other elected official.
This perspective on choosing leaders has a precedent in the Bible. The prophet Samuel did well to listen in prayer and find the family from whom he was to choose an individual to succeed Saul as King of Israel. He was so impressed by the outward appearance of the first "candidate" – the oldest of eight brothers – that he thought he'd found his man.
However, the law of God, good, acting to illumine the right choice touched the prophet's thought with this idea: "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (I Sam. 16:7).
Seven brothers later, Samuel finally saw David and intuitively recognized that the youngest brother was the one to anoint to lead the Israelites.
What was it that "the Lord" saw in young David's heart? In her "Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," Mary Baker Eddy – the founder of Christian Science – wrote from her own experience of cultivating qualities of leadership, "Love is not puffed up; and the meek and loving, God anoints and appoints to lead the line of mankind's triumphal march out of the wilderness, out of darkness into light" (p. 130).
God is the divine Mind, Spirit, and as the purely spiritual Mind of all creation, God knows all His children spiritually as perfect ideas of His own intelligence and integrity. That's true for all individuals, including political candidates. (Yes, even those in the other guy's party!) That's how God knows and loves all of us as equal spiritual offspring.
The law of universal goodness has a practical impact on our lives to the degree that we acknowledge and understand that it supersedes all other factors.
These insights alerted me that I needed to trust the action of the divine law to operate in our lives and in society to cause the qualities required for the job of president to be delivered to fulfill that role successfully.
I realized that I could pray for clarity of thought to know that the candidate whose qualities would best meet the needs of the US and the wider world beginning in 2009 would emerge to fill the role demanding those qualities – even if those all-important qualities were unrecognized or underappreciated.
The qualities "meek and loving" and not being "puffed up" won't draw the biggest headlines and the most column inches or feature in many campaign ads between now and November 2008. But if these qualities are best suited to lead, I can start praying now to gain confidence in the guiding hand of God to shape the demand for these powerful qualities, and fashion the winner to embrace them.