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Preserved by Purpose: Thank You President Obama!

“When I sat down to write this article, I didn’t know what to write.   I knew that I wanted to write about:   the inauguration of President Barack Obama.    I just had so many things that I wanted to write that I didn’t know where to get started.”    I wrote these words 8 years ago excited about the upcoming Obama Presidency.       Even though there was economic turmoil and growing uncertainty, I still had  great anticipation of what good things the Obama Presidency would do for our country.

Shewanda Riley


Looking back on the last 8 years, I am thankful for the resilient and compassionate leadership of President Obama.  There were many times when faced with challenging situations, all I had to do was turn on the news and see President Obama dealing with much more difficult ones with an unbelievable measure of grace and wisdom.    Often, it would inspire me to take a more thoughtful and less emotional approach to my own problems.

Yet, despite the fears of death, damnation and destruction, the world didn’t end.  And for many of us Christians, under Obama’s leadership the world actually became better.  Unlike some who say that their lives got worse, for others it’s been a great 8 years.      We’ve bought houses, built homes, purchased cars, safely traveled around the United States and the world,   received promotions on our jobs, retired from jobs,  gotten new jobs and acquired health insurance.   We’ve built churches and experienced amazing times of spiritual growth and renewal.

Recently, I re-read a prayer by the late Rev. Dr. Jerome McNeil written for President Obama in 2009 and was amazed to see how  much the prayer has come to pass.    Portions of Dr. McNeil’s original prayer are in bold and italicized:

  • Please become the final voice in all his deliberations and awaken his conscience in matters of supreme importance. Obama has a transformative focus on issues of social justice like police misconduct and gun violence.
  • Lord, let him maintain the trust of the people as he trusts you! Obama has a job approval rating of 55% which is one the highest of most recent outgoing presidents.
  • Surround him with men and women of high integrity and spare him from those who are seekers of selfish desires. Unlike his predecessors, remarkably the Obama administration had no scandals (sexual or ethical) during its 8 years.

As we transition to a new presidential administration, we can take comfort in the truth of scriptures like the words of Ecclesiastes 2:21 which states “there is a man who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, yet gives his legacy to one who has not labored for it. This too is vanity and a great evil.” Or Proverbs 21:1:The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” In other words, even though we’ll have a new president, the same sovereign God is in control.

Thank you President Obama and First Lady Michelle!   May God continue to bless your family and your legacy of hope, integrity and grace.


Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends.” She can be reached at lovehangover@juno.com.

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