Have you heard? There’s a Presidential election this fall. I jest. This election is in our faces, dominates news and is an obstinate discussion topic. I’ve heard it many times, “I’m sick of it!” A friend told me recently, “I never thought I’d see the day when I had to vote for the lesser of two evils for President.” Putting it mildly, I’m not captured by any candidate running for President, one of whom will be our next President. God, deliver us from despair!
What are we to do? Here are some things I hope you’ll remember as we approach November 8.
This is America. Our privilege to choose leaders without violently overpowering someone is better than any leader selection process worldwide. Democracy is messy, but it’s the best system there is. Those who decide to stay home and not vote, lose. So does our country. Our son-in-law, Darren, born and raised in Canada, became a United States citizen since our last Presidential election. Though bewildered by options, he’s excited to vote for the first time. Remember that privilege.
Mary and I traveled to the Middle East 37 years ago. When we returned home, we wanted to kiss the ground when we landed in New York. We had the time of our lives seeing the land and places that now make the Bible come alive, as any place does when you have visited there. We were in awe walking where Moses, Jesus, Paul and other biblical characters walked. But to return to America, where we can currently gather to worship freely, choose where to live, decide if and where to pursue higher education, drive freely – nothing tops it. Remember that.
Is our country in trouble? In many ways, we are. Only a spiritual awakening can turn us in the direction that will guard and preserve these freedoms. Dare not take for granted the freedoms that have been defended and given to us. It’s now up to us to safeguard those freedoms. Don’t bail on being part of the answer. Get involved. Make a difference. Consider running for office. Pray for discernment as you vote. Do not succumb to discouragement. Be inflated with hope.
Recently, Mary and I attended Constitution Day at Judson University. Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, was the speaker. He is bullish on America, no matter how the election turns out. His greatest concern is who will be appointed to the Supreme Court because those appointments often last a generation. Sekulow contended, it is not a President’s signature legislation that is his/her legacy, it is Supreme Court appointments. Ponder that.
My primary hope is not in the Republican, Democratic or any third party. My hope is in Jesus Christ, Chief Sovereign over this world. Whoever we elect will be a flawed leader, just as we are flawed voters. When it seems the world is going to spin off its axis, with violence, hatred, racism, terrorism, wars, rumors of wars, and the family knocked back on its heals, my hope is in knowing Jesus Christ is ultimately in charge. Otherwise, I would be in despair. I am not because Jesus IS the supreme leader. Follow him, and remember that.
We forget that the Church, making known the good news in Christ, hope of the world, was given birth in political and religious chaos. The crucifixion of Jesus was followed by the resurrection. God is not unnerved by our present distress.
Ryan Pemberton, writing in Bible Study Magazine (current issue, page 52), wrote an article titled, “Does God Care Who Is President?” It is sobering to realize that God has allowed good and bad leaders to be put in place. Sometimes people, to their peril, got the leaders they wanted or deserved. Ryan reminded me that the Bible calls us, First of all (italics mine), to pray “for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions.” The first category of people we are to pray for is “kings and all in high positions.” Why? “. . . so we may live peaceful, quiet lives . . . .” (1 Timothy 2:2) is the Bible’s pragmatic answer. Pray for them also because high positions are enamored with power, and power is intoxicating. Temptations lurk in every decision. Every leader has clay feet. Do you see why our praying for them is a high priority to God?
There is an even larger reason why we must pray. Pemberton shared a quote from Swiss theologian Karl Barth that sent me thinking about it often the day I read it. Barth said, “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” What a way to respond to the present turmoil, the disorder, in our nation and world. What a way to respond to a troubling Presidential campaign. Rise up against the disorder. Talk with God about it, and pray with Jesus, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”