O My Soul, Faint Not
Like many, I was shocked by the results of the presidential election. I found out at 4 a.m. via a friend’s text message and didn’t sleep the rest of the night.
As a progressive leaning Christian, I’ve been spiritually homeless — unattached to any kind of church community — for months. I’m deeply committed to my relationship with Christ, but also deeply frustrated with and wounded by American Evangelicalism. I live in a politically conservative community and the idea of walking into a Sunday service is exhausting. For the past six months, the only thing keeping me going is my morning prayer time and progressive outlets like Sojourners and The Liturgist Podcast. They make me feel like I’m not alone.
When I rolled out of bed for my usual time reading the Bible and praying, I found myself at a loss for words. I didn’t know how to pray about the pain that I felt. So I just sat there in silence, knowing that God was there even though I didn’t feel like it.
As the morning progressed, I tried to process things. I realized that I wasn’t upset over Hillary losing — I was upset over what Trump’s victory says about the hearts of the people who voted for him. More than anything, I felt betrayed — betrayed by the church and betrayed by my brothers and sisters in Christ. Statistics say that 80% of Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump — a man whose message centers on division and hate, a man whose platform and popularity hinges on stirring up fear and hatred of others. I could make a list of his offenses against minorities and women, but I know that you’ve heard them all already.
“How can I go to church again?” I asked my mom this morning. “How can I sit there, soaking in the Gospel of grace and love, beside people who chose fear and hate over compassion and justice?”
Not knowing what else to do, I went for a walk in the woods. Again, I attempted to pray, but could not find the words. I simply walked with my palms facing the sky — an empty plea. My hands shook and, as I got farther into the woods, I found tears coming. I’m not someone who normally cries, but I couldn’t hold it in. The sobs came and I cried for my country, for my family, for my future. I cried for my GLBT friends, for people of color, for immigrants, and for Muslims. I cried for my faith, for my pain, and for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I found peace at last in the lyrics to a song:
“ Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, let me pardon
Where there is darkness, let the Light come, come.
O my soul, faint not, no, faint not
O my soul, keep up, up
(“Faint Not” by Jenny & Tyler)
I may not feel peace right now, but I cling to these words. They are my hope and my prayer. I know that God is sovereign, but right now my heart hurts and that is okay. There is a time for sadness and, when tomorrow comes, I will move forward because God’s mercies are new every morning.
O my soul, faint not.