Sitting in my snowbound study a day before the much ballyhooed Iowa caucuses

Sitting in my snowbound study a day before the much ballyhooed Iowa caucuses, I wonder what difference it all makes in the end.  True, the New Year has dawned, fresh and snow-blown with promise.  And the adventure of a journey uncharted looms large and inviting.  But Iowa’s unrelenting stream of political sound bites that has been our daily fare for months now (and we live in Michigan!) will in a few hours crescendo into deafening campaign noise from New Hampshire and South Carolina and the rest of the compacted primary states eagerly awaiting their turn in the national spotlight.  But what difference does it all make in the end? A week ago Pakistan and Kenya were hardly household names.  But now the fate of two indigent nations half way around the globe has sucked us into the spiraling vortex of their uncertain futures.  What will be the headlines that we awaken to tomorrow? But then, does it really matter?  I remember the prayer of the captive prophet—especially in times like these.  So simple and quiet, yet here is a prayer profound in its third millennial implications.  It is the prayer of Daniel:  “Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons, deposes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.  He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:20-22). Neither global headlines nor political parties set earth’s agenda.  Only One can, and Daniel prays to him.  For “above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best” (The Faith I Live By 42). No wonder Daniel can exclaim, “I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors” (v 23)! Can’t we do the same?  For isn’t Daniel’s God our God, too?  And won’t his will still be done on earth as it is in heaven?  Then what difference does it make—the headlines that we awaken to tomorrow?  Isn’t it enough to know that our uncharted future is already charted and known to Christ?  Then who better to pray to and journey with this new year?