When Giants Pass On
The leadership landscape is strewn with self-professed public servants whose records prove they are neither servants nor leaders. Agendas that further power, personal security, and pensions leave little room for the rule of law and policy that is furthered with the next generation in mind. A larger and more powerful government has come to be viewed as a benevolent rich uncle who is there to give us what we cannot give ourselves, and more importantly, what God knows we do not need.
In such a climate, we are less and less apt to see leaders who call us, not to seek greater comforts, but to embrace greater challenges. The weakening of our resolve is matched only by the cloudiness of our vision and the softness of our character. It is for this reason that we search out leaders who pander to our emotions and appetites while assuring us our best days are ahead.
I pray regularly that God will give us leaders of commitment, character, conviction, and courage. But in a soft culture focused on self and feelings, such leaders are becoming more and more rare. So it is particularly noticeable when a giant passes from the scene. When giants pass, they leave a vacuum, and there are any number of would be replacements waiting in line to assume their role. The passing of Antonin Scalia is a case in point.
He was a man of commitment. He was committed to the rule of law embodied in the Constitution. He was a man of character. His strength was not in public opinion poles or the agreement of colleagues. Rather, it was in the resolve of a conscience riveted to truth and right. He was a man of conviction. He held, not merely opinions easily swayed by the arguments of the intelligencia, but rock solid beliefs that anchored his heart and mind. He was a man of courage. He possessed the fortitude to swim against the tide; to give voice to unpopular and even unwanted truths found repulsive and archaic to minds formed by relativism.
Such men are not easily, and sometimes never, replaced. Lesser men whose responsibility it is to find their replacement often do not possess anything like the depth of character of the man they seek to replace. We are left to watch them scurry about appearing to work for right, when they understand neither the significance of their actions nor the public’s great loss.
Is the absence of great leaders the cause or the affect of our obvious moral decline? The answer does not change the desperate situation in which we find ourselves. The passing of Antonin Scalia is not just a loss to his family but a telling event on the leadership landscape of a once great nation. His position will be filled, but his leadership may never be replaced. Let us pray that it will and ask our merciful God to give us, not what we deserve, but what we so desperately need.