- - Thursday, December 24, 2020

“The way to walk through demanding days is to grip My hand tightly and stay in close communication with Me. Let your thoughts and spoken word be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the day’s problems, I can keep you in perfect Peace as you stay close to me.”

These words were part of an email I received a few days after becoming the first governor in American history to win a recall election. A friend had read this devotional on the day before the election and thought it would be a good reminder had I lost the election. 

Reading the email, I was thankful that they didn’t seem to apply to me. Still, I took a closer look at the words and, specifically the typeface, on the attachment. 

It looked just like the book Tonette and I read each morning. So I picked up our copy of “Jesus Calling” and turned to June 4th. Sure enough, it matched. 

I had missed reading the devotional. It was for the day before the recall election and I was on a bus tour and had forgotten to bring my copy. It would have been a powerful message had we lost the election. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to apply to us.  



I didn’t give it another thought until the end of the week. That’s when we received another interesting email. My assistant came in and told me that I really needed to read it.

The note came from a woman who wrote to me about her brother Pat. He and his family had met me at a dairy breakfast on the previous Sunday. 

They had been eating pancakes at the breakfast when they heard that we had arrived and — because he was a big supporter — they got up to meet us by our truck. After greeting me, she said, Pat told his family that he was looking forward to casting his vote for me two days later.  

What a wonderful email, I thought. Little did I know how dramatically the story would change. 

Pat’s sister told me that he got up early on Monday to milk his cows with his 13-year-old son. Then came the shocker. Pat fell over that morning and died of a heart attack — at the dear age of 53. 

My jaw dropped. 

According to the message, Pat stressed to his family how important it was to vote for me in the recall election. So, despite their obvious grief, Pat’s wife and their other two children honored his memory by casting a ballot that Tuesday. How remarkable. 

Pat’s sister concluded her email with a request that I send a note of condolences to his widow — her sister-in-law. My assistant was ready with a note but I told her that I was not going to do that. Instead, I asked her to track down a number for me.  

Pat’s adult daughter answered the phone. I explained who I was and expressed my condolences. Then, I asked for her mother. She was in the barn — probably trying to figure out how they were going to handle milking all of these cows. They told me to hold and they would go to the barn and get her. 

When she got on the line, I told her about the email from the sister-in-law. I expressed my sincere sympathy to her and her family. Clearly, she was still in shock and surprised that I was calling to talk about her husband. 

Suddenly it dawned on me.  

The devotion I had read attached to another email wasn’t for me. It was — for her.  

I walked over and picked up my copy of “Jesus Calling.” Quickly, I flipped open to the page for June 4th. That was the day that her beloved husband had died of a heart attack.  

Shaking, I read the words to her over the phone: 

“The way to walk through demanding days is to grip My hand tightly and stay in close communication with Me. Let your thoughts and spoken word be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the day’s problems, I can keep you in perfect Peace as you stay close to me.”

We both cried.  

Normally, I don’t miss a day of reading out of that devotional — but I had on June 4th. The friend who made a copy of the devotional for that day could have skipped passing it on to me since I won the election. And I could have just sent a sympathy card to her instead of insisting on calling her.  

None of that was an accident. It was God’s providence.

What a powerful reminder that God loves us so much that he gave his one and only Son to the world. This is the most important gift we celebrate each Christmas. With the challenges of a global pandemic, feeling joyful might seem a bit difficult this year. It is important to remember the words of Christ to the disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Let us take comfort in the words of Jesus and be open to God’s providence during Christmas and throughout the new year. Blessings to you and your loved ones.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

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