Just Put it All in God’s Hands

Mar 23, 2021
by Glenda Lofton

When I was in the ninth grade, I had an English teacher who not only instilled in me a love for writing, but also helped me appreciate the work of other writers by requiring us to memorize quotes from literature.  One quote that comes quickly to mind during times of adversity such as the COVID virus and controversy such as the recent presidential election is Robert Browning’s quote written in the poem, “Rabbi Ben Ezra”  back in 1862 when he was 50: “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be,  The last of life for which the first was made.” That explains his optimism I thought as I reread it recently. At my age now, 50 sounds young!  But I kept reading. The poem was written a year after the death of his beloved wife and famous English poet, Elizabeth Browning when their son was only 13. Knowing that, the next four lines took on even greater meaning: “Our times are in His hand who saith, A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God; see all, nor be afraid.” 

Sadly, as Tommy often reminds me,  I do not always “practice what I preach.” I tend to worry.  My mother, who tended to worry too, told me years ago that “worry was in the water in Winn Parish where I spent my summers during childhood,” and today Johnnie who has cleaned my house for 40 years repeats to me one more time, “Glenda, just put it all in God’s hands!” Soooo…whether you choose to get vaccinated for the virus or not, whether you are happy with the winner of the presidential election or not, here are some thoughts  I wrote previously that I believe are still relevant.


For me the quote expresses my faith in God and His prophecies in the Bible.  It is also a cornerstone on which America was founded.  George Washington once said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God.” “Our Constitution,” John Adams stated, “was made for a moral and religious people.” Abraham Lincoln took it a step further when he said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side.  My greatest concern is to be on God’s side for God is always right.”  And 100 years later, John Kennedy declared, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” Sadly both Lincoln and Kennedy died for their beliefs.


In 1630 John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a Puritan who had left England in pursuit of religious freedom and a new and better world, challenged the early settlers  “to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God…”(Micah 6:8).  “We must consider,”  he said, “that we shall be as a City upon a Hill.  The eyes of all people are upon us.”


I think my friends who had different opinions from me during a former election had Jefferson’s quote in mind when they gave me a bumper sticker stating, “God is not a Republican or a Democrat.” The original quote taken from Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural address in 1801 was his attempt to unite the country after a bitter and highly partisan deadlocked election in which he and Aaron Burr received an equal number of electoral votes.  The outcome was determined after 36 roll calls in the House of Representatives.  In light of the sometimes negative tone of our recent election, I am encouraged to know that even among our founding fathers, there were differences of opinion.  In fact, during the drafting of our Constitution, there was so much quarreling that some feared the convention and our young country might fall apart.  Yet, the Constitution they wrote is now the oldest in the world, and throughout the years it has provided the stability and flexibility necessary for democracy to thrive and for peaceful transitions to be made from one political party to another.


In her book, A Patriot’s Handbook (2003), Caroline Kennedy, reminds us that “in order for our democracy to thrive, each of us must give something back.  We must make a commitment not just to vote, but to be engaged, to understand the sources of our rights and freedoms and the struggles of those who fought and died to preserve them…” and to teach them to our children.  I think her father, John Kennedy, might have summed it up well in his first inaugural address (1961) when he said, “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own!” It begins with the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and… love your neighbor as yourself.”


I’ll conclude with a poem called “Hope” that I wrote in the eighth grade that won a parish-wide poetry contest. For me, it’s the assurance that one day Christ will return and make all things right!

Hope is something that lives within

The hearts and souls of many men.

A hope that lives and does not die,

A hope inspired by one on high!

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