Did God choose Ted? In response to his victory in the Iowa presidential primary, Ted Cruz credits his victory to divine intervention.
Ted Cruz is one in a long line of American leaders, political, military and religious who have sought to co-opt God for their personal ambitions. Mark Twain in his provocative short story/prose poem ‘War Prayer’, challenged this human tendency to legitimize our agendas. The War Prayer is a scathing indictment of war, and particularly of blind patriotic and religious fervor as motivations for war. The structure of the work is simple: An unnamed country goes to war, and patriotic citizens attend a church service for soldiers who have been called up. The people call upon their God to grant them victory and protect their troops. Suddenly, an “aged stranger” appears and announces that he is God’s messenger. He explains to them that he is there to speak aloud the second part of their prayer for victory, the part which they have implicitly wished for but have not spoken aloud themselves: the prayer for the suffering and destruction of their enemies. What follows is a grisly depiction of hardships inflicted on war-torn nations by their conquerors. The story ends with the man being ignored.
I am a person of faith yet am deeply skeptical of people who say ‘God has told me what to do’, or ‘I’m simply doing God’s will’, or ‘God has brought me the victory’. I do believe that mystery we call God is involved in our lives. I believe that God does call and guide people. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that his call to end segregation was a call from God. This clear sense of call sustained him during times of great stress. So, perhaps God has also called Ted Cruz to seek our highest political office. Perhaps.
I like Mark Twain, am leery of those who speak with great certainty that God has given them the victory, or told them what to do. Do I believe God speaks into our lives? Yes. But my own experience is to move forward with great humility. It is a challenge to distinguish between ego, personal motivations and that which is eternal.