As we prepare for mid-term elections in our country, I encourage everyone to vote. But who should you vote for? That is a prayerful decision between you and God. As you pray, there are seven qualities to look for in a leader. Here’s virtue number six: hope.¹
The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city.
Leaders should inspire and encourage us about a better tomorrow. They must provide vision and hope—confidence in where we are heading. “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted. It belongs to the brave,” said Ronald Reagan running for president during a time of national malaise. Solomon explained the lack of vision and hope as wearisome. The fool exhausted himself by not even knowing the direction to take. A leader with no vision debilitates all those around them. We need leaders with vision and hope.
Hope is not merely wishing something would happen. Dan Taylor and Mark McCloskey write that hope “is a reasonable expectation based on past experience.”² It is reasonable to hope that America continues to be a country that stands for justice because America has acted justly in the past—not perfectly, but justly. Hope is not simply a plan or a recitation of policies; hope is not an inspirational speech. We must ask this important question: What have the candidates done in their past to be able to talk about hope today?
When Martin Luther King, Jr. packed the National Mall in Washington D.C. and gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, the hope he shared meant something because of what he had already accomplished. Hope is a reasonable expectation of where a leader can lead us based on where he or she has led others in the past. We need mature leaders with proven experience to take us forward with hope.
Father, give us mature men and women with proven pasts to lead us into the future. We need leaders who know the way to the city. Provide us with those who give vision and hope. And most of all, help us, as those transformed by Jesus, to demonstrate that freedom is found in the hope of Jesus. In his name, we pray. Amen.
¹ These seven virtues are taken from my book, Picking a President: Seven Characteristics to Evaluate, (Back to the Bible, 2016).
² Daniel Taylor and Mark McCloskey, “How to Pick a President: Why Virtue Trumps Policy,” Christianity Today (Vol. 52, No. 6), June 2008, www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/june/17.22.html.