Praying for a President

President-elect Morsy

In the last few days, President-elect Mohamed Morsy has made very encouraging signs about his inclination to govern from the center. He has met with Christian leaders, revolutionary icons, and even issued directions to not hang his picture in government buildings throughout Egypt, as was done under Mubarak.

Of course, critics may say it is only posturing. A coming battle looms to pit him against the military, over the restrictions to his power made only days before the election. To assert his will, he will need the full scope of moral support from both domestic, and probably foreign, forces. The critic may point to a video like this one about what Morsy truly represents, if he wins.

Regardless of the truth of Morsy’s intentions, I am not fretting much. Instead, I have been trying to rest in the prayer I have repeated for months: God, give Egypt a good president, give Egypt a good government.

This matter of the presidency, in addition to trying to write my best analysis of events, has had me walk the tightrope of all the contradictions imposed by a foreigner’s sense of belonging.

We want the best for Egypt, and wish to enter into the struggle for it. Though, we do not know the best for Egypt, and even if we did, it is not fitting to enter into the particulars of the struggle.

Yet I read, speak with people, form my inclinations, and try to test and communicate what I learn – both with readers and with Egyptians. Faithful visitors to this blog likely have a sense of where my biases, convictions, and opinions lie.

Beneath all of this, however, is a hopeful faith. ‘Hopeful’ in that it imagines the best for the future; ‘hopeful’ further in that I wonder over this faith’s strength and reality.

This faith, I trust, undergirds the prayer. It is not specific – ‘Give Egypt a good president now, with my favored characteristics.’ Nor is it idealistic – ‘Give Egypt a good president someday, who will do all things well and in accordance with your full and complete will.’

The cynic may well say the lack of specifics or ideals means only that my prayer cannot be disappointed. I would rather say it is reflective of the balancing act required of a sense of belonging.

I want a good president for Egypt; I don’t know exactly what this looks like.

Will God answer this prayer, honoring my sincere heart? Has he answered it already? Is Morsy the man? Or is he only a stage necessary for the eventual fulfillment of this request?

I trust that faith and humility gives this sort of answer: Yes, and I don’t know. I will trust this president is the working of God’s best for Egypt, while confessing my inability to know with absoluteness the will of God.

Therefore, within the contradictions, may God bless and guide President Morsy. And as the question of God’s will shall remain forever unanswerable with him or any man, may God bless and guide Egypt.


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