MORE ON CNN: In Obama’s first term, an evolving Christian faith
3. Another meditation began, “Johnny Cash was a glutton for redemption.”
Growing up in Tennessee, I became a big fan of the “Man in Black,” and this devotional reflected on the need to run toward grace, as Cash, a sinner and saint par excellence, did so often.
We often have a tendency to hide our sin in the dark, instead of bringing it to God’s feet. Cash was remarkably candid about his shortcomings, and his daily need for grace — that’s something from which we can all learn.
4. And another favorite expounded on the example that Eleanor Roosevelt set for us on humility.
“I’m glad I never feel important — it does complicate life,” she was known to say.
In the way she lived her life, Roosevelt echoed the words of Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Humility paves a pathway to relationships with others, while pride always tends to get in the way.
5. Most of the devotionals weren’t about tough times or political figures at all.
They were simply about how to appreciate the character and nature of God, and grow closer to him each day, even among people who’d like nothing more than to see us fail.
One day, I decided to include this quote from James Baldwin, the great 20th-century writer, who said, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
The devotional concluded with a prayer of forgiveness for those who had wronged us, and a request that God would help heal any underlying pain.
There were many more — thousands over the years — and I’ve tried to capture the best of them in my new book, “The President’s Devotional.”
While Obama’s day-to-day life is certainly unique, at a deeper level, I imagine that the joys and challenges he meets aren’t too different from our own.
Like us, he wants to how to love God and those around us and how to start each day with real, lasting peace.
I hope my devotionals, which I still send to the President every day, have helped him find a little oasis of spiritual peace in his e-mail inbox, and I hope they’ll do the same for others as well.
Joshua DuBois is author of “The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings that Inspired President Obama” and former head of the White House faith-based initiative. You can find more about him on his website, http://www.joshuadubois.com.