Relax, Church, It's Not Our World.
“This is the most important election in American history!”
I guess we can’t really know how true that is, at least not until well after we’ve voted. But I’m pretty sure that same line has been used to describe pretty much every national election, at least in my lifetime. I had to smile at one guy's response. “No, the most important election in American history was when we elected Abraham Lincoln. Before that, we thought it was okay to own people.” Good point.
Here’s another comment that keeps leaking into a lot of election conversations. (It’s a reminder that some people use most any excuse they can think of in an effort to avoid God.)
“Since Evangelicals elected Donald Trump, I can’t go to church anymore.”
Okay, just to be clear. Historically speaking, Evangelicals have elected every American President. There are simply too many of us. Even when we decide to not vote (sorry, Senator Romney), we technically elect the one who wins. Theologically speaking, however, Evangelicals have never elected any American President.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
That's right, the Apostle Paul said that God arranged to have Barak Obama elected. Go figure. I mean, why on Earth would God establish a President whom so many conservatives loathed? I thought God loved conservatives.
Oh yeah, The Apostle Paul said that God also got Donald Trump elected. Now, why on Earth would God establish a President whom so many liberals loathed? I thought God loved liberals.
So, this is what we know. Evidently, God loves everyone. (We just don’t know why.)
Here’s something else we know. God establishes authorities whom certain groups don’t necessarily like. We just don’t know why.
So, why should a Christian bother to vote? Because it’s part of our worship. Another election gives us the opportunity to, once again, champion God’s love for humanity. But regardless of your political affections, Daniel said it best.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others." (Daniel 2:21)
The way I read that passage, like with every election, America won’t be alone in deciding the outcome. God is more than just a casual observer. Evidently, He’s even more involved than either Russia or Iran. (Okay, bad joke.)
But your confidence in that passage will be exposed when America makes our choice this week. Not by the outcome, but by your response to it. Whether or not you actually believe Daniel will be revealed by your conversations at home and your messaging to your children. If you’re guy isn’t elected and the rest of your family hear you freak out because "the world as we know it has ended," it will send a series of disturbing messages to younger minds that they will have a difficult time reconciling.
I distinctly remember, as a six-year old boy, when JFK was elected President. Oh baby, he might as well have been the Antichrist. He ran against my parents’ hero, Richard Nixon, who was evidently the hope of the world. At least that’s the message I heard. I was afraid for weeks! I’ve since learned that Richard Nixon had never been the hope of the world. No President can fill that resume. In my lifetime, I’ve personally watched God depose "kings and raise up others." I’ve lived through the administrations of 13 different presidents. Not one of their elections took God by surprise. Not one derailed God's agenda in the world.
Perhaps one of the reasons you and I experience so much conflict in our relationships is that we expect other people to fulfill our desires, desires that only God can fulfill.
“Through him (Jesus) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:21)
Only Jesus is the hope of the world. Not your spouse, not your President, not your Governor, not your anybody else. No one except Jesus. This world belongs to only Him. Only He created it. Only He owns it. Only He sustains it. Only He died to redeem it back from the one who is destroying it. So, believe me, to say He has a vested interest in what happens here would be a significant understatement.
It's funny, we play all of these games down here about who’s in charge. We vote. We elect. We complain. But there’s really never been anyone else we should ever place our hope in except Jesus.
Like us, the Jewish people tended to place their hope in people. (When you think about it, it’s a sneaky way to simply place our hope in ourselves.) So, they came to God’s prophet, a man named Samuel. “They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Samuel 8:5)
Samuel went to God with their complaints and God told Samuel to give them what they wanted, to go ahead and anoint a human king for them. But God warned them ahead of time. “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:18) That wasn't a knock on the king they'd pick, it was a knock on the fact that they'd lost faith in God's ability to take good care of them. The whole thing reminds me of the universality of every bad idea starting out as a good idea.
They crowned Saul as the first Jewish King. Saul didn’t work out so well. Of the 42 other kings of Israel and Judah, while all of them were sinners, nine still recognized their responsibility to serve God. The other 33 were jacked up to the point that history remembers them as downright evil. Obviously, some things simply never change! We vote. We elect. We complain!
Okay, let me show you a depiction of the only righteous King they ever had, actually the One they already had, even before Saul was anointed. This is how the Apostle John saw the future return of Jesus.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Now, that’s what I call an entrance! And He’s the same King we have all always had. He’s the One who has always fought for us, is still constantly fighting for us, and will forever fight for us.
So make sure you vote on Tuesday, and then relax and get a good night’s sleep. After the ballots are counted, I don’t know which candidate will get up and talk about how great their campaign was, and how powerful their message was, and how America has given them a mandate to do whatever they plan on doing. All I know is this. Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, the Universe will still be in good hands.