So, I realize making a prediction about tomorrow’s election results so close to the election may be considered cheating. But after tomorrow, the election will mercifully be over (fingers crossed) and making a prediction after the results are in would be almost as ridiculous as the candidates themselves … almost.
I’ve been wanting to write something publicly about what God has been impressing on my heart for the last few months, but it wasn’t until this weekend that everything started coming together (and I was told that it is my turn to write a Faith blog and I don’t want to get fired so I better do it). For those who haven’t read a blog of mine in the past, heads up – I’m wordy. I have no doubt this blog will not be an exception. So, if you don’t have an hour and a half to read this thing or you don’t care about the results of the election, my feelings won’t be hurt if you tip your hat and move along. I get it. Or if you’re like my wife and think, “Just get to the point!” and you want to know the crux of this post, I’ll go ahead and give it to you now: I’m not actually going to predict who wins the election and I’m certainly not going to endorse anyone, but instead I’ll get into some “real talk” about what this election means for us spiritually and remind us to take a breath knowing that everything will be ok, but not necessarily. Still with me? Let’s go.
I don’t feel like I’m alone here when I look at what’s going to go down tomorrow and throw up in my mouth a little. This election, just about every part of it, has been hot garbage. In a giant show of political solidarity, both the Democrat and Republican parties succeeded in nominating the most disliked person from their party on the planet. Way to go guys. You did it! What we thought couldn’t possibly have been accomplished has been achieved in 2016. You look around and the more you observe you realize that just about everyone is voting AGAINST somebody as opposed to FOR somebody. Very few look at their candidate and think, “That candidate shares my views. I’m really excited about him/her.” Sure some do, and those people should probably be avoided at all costs, but most of us are sensible people who are torn between “the lesser of two evils”. How depressing is that? Most of us are just trying to pick a candidate to be stuck with for four years who is less awful than the other one. Good luck.
We have been inundated by negativity, accusations, insults, name-calling, character attacks, bullying, yelling and lies and it never, ever seems to end. We’ve become divided as a nation in ways that some wonder are even reparable, both sides are to blame for this. Take a deep breath. Everyone is guilty. Guilty of creating division, arguing over corrupt leaders and corrupt ideas. Guilty of contributing, in some way, to where we find ourselves as a nation and as a Church. So, where do we go from here? Is there any hope at all?
I’m so glad you asked.
No matter who wins the election, Jesus is still on the throne.
Take a breath again. Read that again. Maybe you need to just read that for a few minutes. Go for it. It is supremely helpful.
Look, in no way am I going to sit here and say that’s an original thought. We know this. Pastor Tim has reminded us of this repeatedly. In fact, there are MANY blog posts and articles called “My Prediction for November 8th” and they ALL cover this in significant detail. Far better than I ever could. I’m not going to hang out on this point too long, but we need to be reminded that no matter what happens tomorrow, NOTHING. ETERNAL. CHANGES. God is still God. God is still good. God is still in control. God is not the least bit worried about the outcome of tomorrow’s election. Not one bit. God spoke the world into existence and has marked off the boundaries of space and holds light in His hand and knows where every creature on the earth is at all times, cares for it and sustains life for His glory. He is not challenged nor surprised by the Presidential Election of 2016.
Please take great comfort and hope from this. So many Christians are living in fear of what tomorrow brings. That if the election goes a certain way everything we know and love as a country will be forever gone. No freedoms, no peace, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria … and guess what? Maybe! Maybe that will happen. But even if it does, we have no reason to fear at all. Why? Because no matter what happens tomorrow, Jesus is still on the throne.
But too often we stop there. This profound fact has some implications, too.
No matter who wins the election, Christians are still called to be Christians.
If we believe Jesus is still on the throne, and if we truly trust that God is in complete control of it all, then we have to live according to that truth. We have to align our lives with His calling. We have to be the people He has created and called us to be. If your candidate of choice loses tomorrow, that does not negate your calling to represent Christ in the way you live. God did not call us to live lives of holiness and righteousness unless your political party loses. Too many in the Church are allowing this election cycle to impact their ability to represent Christ well in the world. Want proof? Spend 4.5 seconds on Facebook. Look at the ferocity and anger brothers and sisters in the faith are communicating with regarding the candidates and this election. My heart has broken when I have seen church family members insult and belittle one another based on differing views and decisions being made by other Christians. My heart is broken because I’ve participated in it, too, and this does not honor God, not even a little.
What has happened to us as the people of God? How did this not-eternal thing turn us into people who abandon love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? When did we become SO willing to engage with others in a way that so obviously dishonors our King? And why do we defend it as if it is defensible? We are called to be people of peace. If we are not being peaceful, we are disobedient. If we are creating division, we are in sin. If we engage in ways that are unloving and motivated by fear we are not living out our calling and what we profess to believe. There is no way around it. If God says, “Live this way” and we say, “But…election!” and live counter to His call and commands, we are dishonoring the God we have committed our lives to.
This may not sit well with some of you, but here’s what I see. The Church has become so absorbed by nationalism that we forgot where our true allegiance lies. We are Kingdom citizens who happen to live in America. Our Savior, the One who moved us from death to life and adopted us into His family, requires that we act as citizens of our true home whilst walking around in our temporary one. When we signed onto the whole “eternal life, give Jesus your heart” bit, THAT’S what we signed up for. THAT is the commitment we made. “God, I will live for you no matter what happens! No matter if Trump wins, no matter if Hillary wins – it will not change who I am or how I live.” The eternal and the temporary are not equal, so if we commit our lives to the eternal, then that gets first priority. That guides who we are. Kingdom citizens are guided by the Kingdom mindset while living as aliens in the greatest country on Earth.
Are we living out a Kingdom mindset as we engage with others over the election? Are we looking at the present situation through a Kingdom lens knowing that God is in control? Are we heading into the future with a Kingdom understanding? We MUST answer all of these questions for one very significant reason…
No matter who wins the election, we are about to find out what the Church is made of.
So, the first two “points” aren’t really predictions. Those are straight up facts. I guess this would be my prediction.
When I look at the two “evils” with the best shots at leading the next four years, I feel confident in saying that I don’t believe either Hillary or Trump will lead in ways that are God-honoring. There is nothing in their lives, professional or personal, that gives me any confidence whatsoever that as a result of their leadership we will experience a great revival. I firmly believe that neither Trump nor Hillary have spiritual interests at heart or they will not govern in a way that promotes a culture that honors God. Whether or not they should be the leader of the whole country is a different debate for a different time, but what the Church needs to be mindful of is the reality in which we live as Kingdom citizens.
A lot of energy and discussion is given to try and figure out how to return to the “good old days” where prayer in school was affirmed and the culture, for the most part, recognized the need and role of God in our lives. Church, I truly believe those days are long behind us, and we are not getting them back. No matter how hard we try to fight, yell, legislate and convince…those days are gone. I’ve had enough discussions with Church folk to realize that most people older than me are shaking their heads, while those younger than me are nodding them. I know this is difficult to accept, because of the harsh implications it brings, but there exists a spiritual reality that we need to embrace – when Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world; that we are aliens in this world; that this world would be against us just like it was against Him; that we do not belong to this world – He was telling us the truth.
We don’t like that truth. That truth means that life is going to get harder. This world, for the Church and the Christian, is going to get more difficult. Jesus explicitly told us this, and yet we act just like Peter did when Jesus said He was going to be crucified: “Never, Lord! This will never happen!” Telling Jesus He’s wrong doesn’t work out well.
I get why we want to reject that! For a very long time the Church in America has existed in safety with some authority and respect in the culture. Let’s be real here – it’s been nice living the way we wanted and existing unopposed, but we knew that wouldn’t last forever, right? Jesus straight up PROMISED us it would get harder and that the enemy was coming after us and persecution is our future and we will have to suffer for our faith. We just didn’t think He meant it, because we lived in comfort and peace so long that we got comfortable.
And my prediction is…at some point, the promise of Jesus is going to come to fruition. Well, I guess that’s not really a prediction either. Junk. Sorry for the misleading title.
Here’s my point. You look around and the culture has changed drastically. If you can read and comprehend this post, I’ll bet vital parts of my anatomy that the culture has changed significantly since you were a kid. The further you get from your original birthday, you know this to be even more true. It’s my opinion that neither Trump or Hillary have any ability or desire to try to turn this around. Sure, one of them won’t press the gas pedal off the cliff faster than the other one (just because each will have their own different influences), but the Church in America, I believe, is entering into a totally different era of Kingdom living. Jesus promised this would happen, and no matter what, no matter who wins tomorrow, we are still called to exist as Kingdom people.
This will be difficult. Living as people of peace when everything in our spirit wants to war and rage is near impossible. Expressing love, patience, kindness, and gentleness in a world that rejects us won’t be easy. Just shutting up and not picking a fight on social media when someone disagrees with us requires uncommon restraint. Being guided by the Holy Spirit and living lives of holiness in a culture that rejects Him and His call will be the Church’s greatest challenge yet.
When a couple gets married, they vow to be committed to the other in the good times and bad. But the vows that really matters are the “in sickness…for poorer…in bad times…,” because the good times are easy. They are comfortable. They aren’t challenging. Nobody has a problem being committed in marriage when things are good. It’s the tough parts of the relationship where we really find out how serious that commitment was.
My prediction (yes!) is that the Church is entering that season of our relationship with Christ. We are about to find out what the Church is made of. Did we mean our vows and our commitment to God when we joyfully accepted His gift, even though we were told it would require everything of us? Are we going to live as citizens of the Kingdom, embracing the character and life that comes with it? Or are we going to live as religious Americans who only walk in the Light when it doesn’t conflict with our preferred way of life and self-lordship?
We have a choice on November 8th, and it is far more significant than who will lead us for the next four years. Are we going to live as Kingdom citizens, submitting to God, living out His call on our lives whatever that means, or are we going to fight for our comfortable, easy religion that He wants nothing to do with?
Know this – as we live as Kingdom citizens in a foreign country, He is walking with us. Tomorrow doesn’t concern Him. He is not afraid. Whatever comes as a result of tomorrow, does not change the fact that Jesus is on the throne.
We are still called to live for our King.