This election season is stressing me out. With each passing primary, our options seem to narrow from distasteful to, well, frightening. I find myself wondering if any politician out there is capable of prioritizing national interest above personal ambition, if cooperation and respect are outdated relics of the twentieth century. Gone are the days when Ronald Reagan had Tip O’Neill for happy hour at the White House. Now nearly all our leaders prey on grievances and fears, subtly suggesting that some of our nation’s greatest enemies are other Americans. And, in record numbers, we are voting FOR such leaders.
Even so, GOD IS SOVEREIGN: “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. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors…” (Daniel 2:20-23)
In that sovereignty, God could have stopped John Wilkes Booth, Edi Amin, the Holocaust, or 9-11. He did not, and we do not know why. I could get very upset with God about this, but I remember this mystery: God didn’t stop Good Friday, either. Jesus chose the cross. He deliberately marched toward His own personal disaster for our sakes, even though no one around Him could see why He was doing what He was doing. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). So I have to choose to trust that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His glory (Romans 8:28). “All things” doesn’t leave much wiggle room for God to miss any details in my life or yours.
He also decides who will govern 319 million US citizens. Democracy has fooled us into thinking that we wield more power than we actually do, but in fact “the Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the people to no effect.” (Psalm 33: 10) God fills the White House, every Congressional seat, and every judicial post. For this reason we have nothing to fear, because “The Lord’s plans stand firm forever, His intentions can never be shaken.” (V.11 NLT) We don’t need to question what God has planned for us, because He has already told us: “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Still, trusting God is hard for me. I focus on the headlines and my rising healthcare costs instead of the abundant promises in this big fat book He gave us. But I don’t have to stand by passively while my anxiety about the future takes hold. I can actively engage with the Truth. I take up the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith, because “the truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on a spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of enemy strongholds [like fear, anger, despair, isolation, resignation, self-interest]. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defense that men erect against the knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6 Phillips)
Clearly, the enemy is NOT other people. No candidate, no matter how heinous he or she seems to me, is the real villain here. The enemy is anything that challenges the authority of Christ, and quite frankly, when I indulge in worry and anger over this election, I am “erecting defenses against the knowledge of God.” I cannot afford to do this. My peace and my faith and my hope are at stake here. Even more important, I cannot be useful to God or His kingdom or the people I love if I am cooperating with the enemy.
Let the Word of God stir us to action. We can saturate our minds with the truth of God’s sovereignty, His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His power. We can worship. His Spirit makes it possible for us to move in that perfect love that casts out fear. This is not the time for passivity, because as Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” How we respond to the challenges threatening to divide our country reveals much about what we think of our God. Fear, anger, negativity and complaint will not help me be a good citizen, and if I really trust in God’s sovereignty, I have no time to waste with such things anyway.
Paine went on to say: “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country…” We cannot be “summer soldiers,” only willing to fight dark spiritual forces when the fighting isn’t too tough. The truth is, we serve a far greater Kingdom than the United States of America, and whomever is elected President of our country has no power whatsoever in eternity. Only God does. We can serve our country best when we live first as citizens of heaven.
May we say, as individuals and as a nation: “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. For our hearts shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.” Psalm 33:20-22
Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart…. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass… Do not fret- it only causes harm. Psalm 37: 1-4,7-8
Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through Him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through Him, and for Him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for Him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now He is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and He is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. Colossians 1:15-18 Phillips
… On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18
God brings death and God brings life,/ brings down to the grave and raises up./ God brings poverty and God brings wealth;/ He lowers, He also lifts up./ He puts poor people on their feet again;/ He rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope,/ Restoring dignity and respect to their lives- a place in the sun!/ For the very structures of earth are God’s;/ He has laid out His operations on a firm foundation./ He protectively cares for His faithful friends, step by step,/ but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark./ No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!/ God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky,/ crashed in a heap and burned./ God will set things right all over the earth,/ He’ll give strength to His king,/ He’ll set His anointed on top of the world! 1 Samuel 2:7-10 MSG
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. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves… the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. Romans 13:1-2, 4
I urge you… to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV
For unto us a Child is born,/ Unto us a Son is given;/ And the government will be upon His shoulder./ And His name will be called/ Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,/ Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace./ Of the increase of His government and peace/ There will be no end,/ Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,/ To order it and establish it with judgment and justice/ From that time forward, even forever./ The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7
As my vision continued, I saw someone like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into His presence. He was given authority, honor and sovereignty over all the nations over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey Him. His rule is eternal- it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 NLT
He is KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16