This was the same man who came within a hair's breadth of losing an
election in November,
who withstood the political chicanery of the Florida Democratic
machine to fix the vote count.
This was the same man who admitted to
having a drinking problem in younger years,
and whose happy-go-lucky lifestyle led him to mediocre grades in college and
an ill-fated oil venture.
This was the same man who mangled syntax even more than his father,
and whose speaking missteps became
known as "Bushisms."
And on Friday, this was the man who bore the weight of the world and the
responsibilities of a generation with dignity, class, confidence, appropriate solemnity, and even much-needed wit.
One thing struck me during the campaign, that difficult, roller-coaster campaign that now seems years ago.
It was that George W. Bush never seemed to get ruffled. Whether the theft of a campaign debate video or the suddenb(some would say, vicious) release of a DUI arrest two decades ago at a key moment, "W" did not lose his cool.
At times, his staff seemed overconfident,
as did many of us.
A 350-electoral-vote win,
implied . . .
and we optimistically believed.
Then they counted the votes,
miscounted others, and re-counted still others.
At the end,
he was still
Whereas Al Gore almost frantically huffed and puffed,
trying to gin
up something out of nothing,
Bush quietly but confidently waited at his
He didn't do anything:
that is the mistake people have constantly
made with this man,
confusing lack of bluster for absence of action.
his team of attorneys and the
iron-willed James Baker
were carrying out
but W stayed in the background,
confident and faithful.
You see, it is this faith business that confounded everyone.
We have had
such actors and liars in public office that we have looked skeptically
whenever anyone used the term faith.
But this was the same man who was the
first politician ever in recent memory to name Jesus Christ as the lord of
his life on public TV.
Not an oblique reference to being "born-again" or having a "life change."
He said the un-PC-like phrase,
to which his handlers and advisors,
no doubt, off stage, were also saying,
in a much different tone.
God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. David learned that while he was on the run from Saul's armies.
Job learned that after his time of horrible tribulation.
The Messiah said so Himself, many times.
So this was the man who actually put faith into practice.
loves those who hate him.
It is a staggering concept,
so foreign in daily
occurrence that few thought it anything but grandstanding.
Even one of W's
biggest supporters chided the President for adhering to his "new tone."
Yet there he was,
again and again,
thanking the Democrats.
Appointing his enemies to high places in his government.(I know, this
is hard to stomach)
even treating them with dignity.
See, this was the man
who learned early on how faith worked:
by praying for his enemies, you
"heap burning coals upon their heads."
This was the man who named the absolute top people in national security
then caught barbs from the politically righteous that this
one didn't have the right views on abortion or that one didn't have the
right position on guns.
And on September 11,
this was the man thrust into a
position only known by Roosevelt, Churchill, Lincoln, and Washington.
weight of the world was on his shoulders,
and the responsibility of a
generation was on his soul.
So this same man---the one that the media
repeatedly attempted to tarnish with charges of
and the one whose political opponents desperately sought
to stonewall until mid-term elections---walked to his seat at the front of
the National Cathedral just three days after the two most impressive symbols of
American capitalism and prosperity virtually evaporated, along with,
perhaps, thousands of Americans.
As he sat down next to his wife,
immediately I knew that even if his
faith ever faltered,
I have never seen a more peaceful face
than on Laura Bush,
whose eyes seemed as though they were already gazing at
the final outcome . . . not just of this conflict,
but of her reward in
In this marriage,
you indeed got two for the price of one.
Then came the defining moment of our generation.
Some people fondly recall their Woodstock days.
Others mark with grim sadness
as the day America lost her innocence.
But I firmly believe when the history of this time is written,
it will be acknowledged by friend and foe alike that
President George W.
Bush came of age in that cathedral and lifted a nation off its knees.
wasn't so much his words,
though read a decade later,
they will indeed be as
stirring as any.
This conflict would end, he noted,
". . . at a time of our choosing."
It certainly wasn't his emotion.
What had to have been one of the most
stunning exhibitions of self-control in presidential history,
W was able to deliver his remarks without losing either his resolve or his focus,
or, more important, his
It was as if God's hand,
which had guided him through that
now rested fully on him.
His quiet confidence let our enemies know
. . . and believe me, they
know. . .
that they made a grave miscalculation.
Now, this same man who
practiced his faith through a tough election,
who steeled his convictions
even more in a drawn-out Florida battle,
and who never once gave in to the
temptation to get in the gutter with his foes
(well, ok, maybe the
"Clymer" comment is an exception),
this same man now lifted the weight of
the world and the responsibility of a generation and put it on his modest
shoulders as though it were another unpleasant duty.
As he walked back to his seat,
the camera angle was appropriate.
virtually alone in the scene,
alone in that massive place of God,
and the Lord.
But that's the way it's always been in his life recently.
that brief time it took him to return to his seat,
I believe he heard
words to the effect of,
"You can do this, George.
I am with you always.
And you can do this well,
because I am going before you.
And don't worry
about the weight.
I've got it."
And I saw in his eyes a quiet
"I know. Thank you Lord."
Back at his seat, when W sat down,
George H. W. Bush reached over and
took his son's hand.
The elder Bush always struck me as a religious man,
but not someone who shared his life on a daily basis with the Lord.
H. W. treats the Father like a respected uncle,
visiting Him on
appropriate holidays and knowing
the relationship is real, but not
Anyway, I believe that in that fatherly squeeze George H. W.
"I wish I could do this for you, son,
but I can't.
You have to do
this on your own."
W squeezed back and gave him that look of peace that
Laura had kept throughout.
It said, "I don't have to do it alone, dad.
I've got help.
What a blessing to have a professing Christian as President -
one who is
not ashamed to admit it!
Please take a moment after you read this to pray for him -
he truly does
have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Pray that God will sustain
him and give him wisdom and discernment in his decisions.
Make no mistake
about it -
the decisions he makes in the coming days, weeks and months
will literally define the future of our country and the free world.
Pray for his protection and that of his family.
After you have prayed,
send this to everyone on your e-mail list.
President needs Christians around the world to be praying for him.
makes the e-mail rounds,
eventually there could literally be people
praying for him 24X7!!
He needs it.
Copy and Paste This URL to send on!
A person who had passed this above message on had written this note about it.
This was her sentiments:
I didnt have a lot of faith in "W"...
I certainly didnt vote for
him in the election,
but through this tragedy,
and the many long
days to come,
I have gained a respect for the man,
I truly think
none of the other options on the ballet..
Including my own pick,
could have handled what happened to our nation the way that Mr.
This letter says it pretty much all.