Bluegrass gospel music filled the Freedom Hall Expo Center in Louisville, Ky. for over two hours before the annual 2010 National Quartet Convention turned its focus on one of the leading political figures since 2008 – Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The former Republican candidate for United States vice president stood before thousands of gospel music fans and shared her personal thoughts about faith, family and our country.
While the event might be categorized by the mainstream media as an opportunity to encourage the faith-based voters to go to the polls this fall, it had more the feel of an old-time revival with the biggest stars of gospel music leading the songs and Gov. Palin serving up a plate full of family-centered faith for one of the biggest homecoming sings in the country.
She joked that she doesn’t usually subject her family or others to her singing voice but she did play the flute in the Assembly of God church quartet as a youth.
Commenting on the numerous artist buses at the event, she said that seeing America with her family from the window of a bus is fun.
“After the vice presidential run back in ‘08, I concluded the view is much better inside the bus than under the bus,” she said yielding a roar of laughter.
She encouraged the performers from the Bible saying: “You serve the Lord with gladness as you come before His presence with singing. As you do that, you have doors open for people to come to God.”
She shared that gospel music was an important foundation for her family. Palin said she grew up listening to gospel music and was influenced greatly by the music of artists like the Gaithers, who also appeared at the event that week.
She described how when she was 11 years old at summer camp, she stepped out into the
great outdoors and there she realized she was not alone in the world.
She said she remembered thinking “Lord, you made all of this. If you are this wise, this powerful, surely, there is purpose in everything, in everyone. Even a speck like me, surely, there is purpose and destiny for all. Otherwise, why would you have created all this? From that moment on, I put my life in God’s hands … it’s a sincere faith in Jesus Christ.”
I was personally strengthened to know that Gov. Palin turns to God in prayer even before the major events at which she appears asking Him to guide her.
“It seems when we are calm and we are still, that is when we will sense our purpose and our calling,” she said. “My faith has been a rock to me. Thankful in the good times that faith guides us.”
“It is in the challenging times that I have so relied on my faith,” she said. “So many times I have been drawn to my knees saying God you are all I got, bring me through this.”
She spoke proudly of her children and how God led their family through the past few years and the issues that they have faced.
Many people are worried about America’s challenges, she said.
In America, she said we need a clear vision and optimism to get through challenges we are facing.
“In times like these, when things seem insurmountable, we must proudly stand up and speak out for what we believe in, and not be ashamed of the gospel. Remind America that is what we need.”
While this comment brought attendees to their feet, another that also roused great response was that we are “United under God believing in that Hand of providence that has so blessed this country, that is why we are an exceptional nation and that is nothing to apologize for.”
One of my favorite lessons that she shared – “The Lord can take what seems to be life’s greatest challenges and turn them into life’s greatest blessings.”
That is a message that can strengthen each of us in times of trial.