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‘I always vote, no matter how limited my choices.’

As we prayerfully try to discern and honour the Lordship of Jesus over every area of life, we have all been greatly helped by the thinking and resources provided by CARE down the years. Yet somehow at election time it still never seems straightforward. I am aware of how precious and fragile democracy is; how corrupted it is in many parts of the world and in some repressive countries non-existent. So, to affirm its value, to take seriously my role and privilege as a Christian citizen, and in love for my neighbour, I always vote, no matter how limited my choices.

I am not going to use this blog to urge readers to make one issue the defining one in the forthcoming election. For CARE supporters electing pro-life MP’s will be important, but this is a Westminster election. For others the Brexit debate or climate change will be the key issues. Instead I want to share some encouragement I have found in my current Bible readings in the book of Esther. Here was a political dictatorship of the worst kind – a tyrannical king surrounded by counsellors committed to supporting him whatever he did; a right-hand man , Haman, who took personal offence at Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to him, and who in extreme anger got legislation passed to wipe out the entire Jewish population in the empire. Tyranny, power politics, potential genocide and among God’s people a sense of helplessness. Yet in this book where God is never mentioned, God is everywhere. The invisible hand of His providence is the ultimate moving force behind every single thing that happens – including human decisions.

Central to God’s plan is the presence, character and gifts of two people – Mordecai and Esther. You already know the story. But it has lifted my spirits. In the midst of megalomania, madness, mayhem and threats of mass murder, God preserved his people and his long-term plan of redemption through a few key people who trusted him and were prepared to put their lives on the line for Him. ‘If I perish, I perish.’

So, who am I going to vote for? I am going to look at the character, the personal beliefs of the candidates and find the one closest to my own. But most of all, I am going to say to the Lord in prayer – if you can do it in ancient Persia, you can do it in modern Britain. In your awesome providence, bring to places of power people who will be your servants in the right place at the right time; people of whom it is true as Esther that they “have come to the kingdom for such a time as this”. Lord, put Esthers, Josephs, Nehemiahs, Daniels – and the unknowns of the Bible – just where you want them – to play their part in your big plan for church and nation.

I am realistic about the politics of man, but Esther helps me to be full of hope about the politics and providence of God in the chaos of human affairs and of the ultimate triumph of His sovereign plan.

Reverend David Cupples

Minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland