As a pastor, it is with great remiss that I enter into anything particularly “political”. I would never want to use the platform I have been given to endorse any candidate- particularly since I assume that many of the fine members of the church where I serve fall on different sides of the political aisle. This particular election has been even more challenging for me to “stay out of” given the volume surrounding two of the candidates for president. Each day, as I have scanned my social media feeds, I have found myself wrestling with how best to lead people toward faith in Jesus. We all need to pray and think deeply about the vote we will make in November, and I long to do so in a way that honors God. In order to help prompt prayers and thoughts, I have decided to simply share a few things about my thought process concerning this election.
As my kids initially asked who I would be voting for, I started really thinking about my responsibility in this election. I have been pondering the questions of “What is my responsibility in all of this? VS. What is God’s responsibility? Are the results of an election ultimately in my hands or His? Am I, as a child of God, called to do the “pragmatic” thing, or am I called to do the “principled” thing leaving the outcome in God’s hands? When I answer my kids questions, but more importantly, when I stand before God will I be able to say that my vote was one I took seriously and did with a clear conscience before Him?
Most of the “support” I have heard for the two major candidates seems to center around fear… fear of what the other person’s presidency could mean for the country… fear over the future of the Supreme Court… fear over future laws that might persecute Christians… fear over walls and taxes and wars. It would seem that many people are not so much “for” someone as much as they are “against” the other someone. I have been studying the book of Isaiah, and it is abundantly clear that every time the people of God made an alliance with an evil king/queen out of the fear, things didn’t turn out well… at all. (Decisions based in fear rarely turn out well in the long run.) And so Isaiah is filled with warnings to God’s people about their lack of faith and their need to trust Him for their salvation.
It seems that so many people have been rattled by this season in our history because for the first time in their lives, this country hasn’t felt like their “home” any more, it hasn’t felt safe; it hasn’t felt comfortable. It has even prompted some to start asking hard questions and feeling like they needed to look over their shoulders. To that I say…”GOOD!”. The truth is, many of us need to be confronted by the fact that for many other people in our country, things have never felt particularly comfortable or safe. They may have always felt the need to look over their shoulders and ask hard questions. Perhaps, our growing discomfort can give us some humility and compassion for them. Plus, the other wonderful thing about this vexation is that it reinforces the Biblical truth that, “THIS IS NOT OUR HOME!” We are citizens of a greater kingdom ruled by the King of Kings. The political process, the constitution, the ole American values, the election and a new president should never have been where we anchored our hope. The Gospel is the place where a Christian should find their hope. As the hymn declares, “My (our) hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness”. The Gospel is the ultimate reminder that our identity, our home, our purpose, our meaning and our future is all found in Jesus. The cross reminds us that in the darkness, chaos and even death, God will be glorified, and Jesus is present, active and involved. We find our hope in Him. We should do our part and trust God to do His.
Truly… this election doesn’t scare me. It is all in His hands, and it always has been.