I’ve been relatively silent the last couple of weeks as I’ve waited for the election to be over. Oddly enough, it felt as though I had nothing worthwhile to say – at least nothing that wouldn’t start an argument with someone listening on the other end. My heart has been heavy and my stomach in knots.
It honestly wasn’t until I awoke last night around 2:20 a.m. and checked the voting results that many realizations came over me. First, in regards to the election, I was putting my faith in the wrong things. I was putting my faith in people. I’ll be the first to admit that I was disheartened and it took me close to an hour to fall asleep again after viewing the results, but just before I did I heard the words of Proverbs 3:5 give reassurance to my soul – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” As stubborn human beings of the flesh, we continuously lean on our own understanding. We don’t stop to trust in the omniscient power of our Sovereign Lord. Simply put, He knows. We don’t.
Second, now that I am able to reflect on the months that led up to the election, I realize that my reasons for feeling anxious were pretty selfish. Think about it… How easy would it be to nominate a handful of people who share our beliefs to go and do the legwork for us? How comforting to go on living each day with our families and never give any thought to what was going on around us because we have the “right” people doing the heavy lifting for us? Because, after all, we need those people in office to set up laws to prevent others from doing the things that we know are wrong. In all honestly, those laws didn’t work during the time of the Old Testament – they’re not going to work now.
As part of a body, how does that member who holds a crucial part forfeit its responsibility and expect another member to pick up the job, instead. If we expect others to go and do the job that we are meant to do, we are going to be sorely disappointed in the outcome. I am reminded of a quote by John Donne that I learned in elementary school – “No man is an island; entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Elected officials can’t be expected to bring Christ back to this country. Only Christians coming together as the body of Christ will be able to show His face to others. We might look at ourselves as a small pebble thrown into a large lake, but the ripple effect from it will travel further than our eyes can see.
Not many weeks ago, the lead pastor at my church reminded the congregation of a quote from Mohandas Ghandi, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of your Christians are so unlike Christ.” If that doesn’t bring perspective to our attitude and behaviors then I have no idea what will. Under no amount of circumstances can we vote Jesus back into the United States. Would it be nice to have an office of those who support us? Absolutely. Are we destitute because that didn’t happen? Absolutely not. What we do now determines what the next four years will look like. Slandering those who “incline their hearts to the left” isn’t going to get us anywhere. (Ecclesiastes 10:2)
A friend of mine referred to our country as having a “moral compass” and conveyed the disappointment she felt at the direction it seemed to be pointing. There are many of us that would wholeheartedly agree with this. But ask yourselves this, as Christians have we let ourselves be so “conformed to the patterns of this world” that others can’t see the light that leads them out of darkness anymore? Prayer has always been an effective tool that we use to intersect with God, but we forget that our actions are almost as powerful as the words we use to speak to Him. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we have the power to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2) We have the power not to sin. We have the power to let the rest of the world see what a correctly pointing moral compass should look like. It is through our neglect to do so that others, as well as ourselves, are steered off course.
Roman rule during Christ’s ministry was more horrific than many of us could understand. Yet during that time, He and His disciples were still able to teach, heal, encourage, give hope and provide food to those around them. We are no different. A co-worker of mine who is not a believer said once that “Churches should just stay out of politics and do what they do best. Help people.” And while I can’t agree with every bit of that statement, he certainly had a point. The church should help people and stop using up valuable time and money pointing and picking at everyone else around them. Casting Crowns says it best with the lyrics “open my eyes to the world at the end of my pointing finger.” We need to stop pointing and start rolling…up our sleeves, that is, to take care of the dire needs of those around us in the exact same manner that Christ and the disciples did without support of the government.
I know I’ve said a lot – and I hope that most of what I had to say didn’t come across as heated. Urgent, yes, but heated is not my intention. I do, however, have one final point to make. About a year ago a pastor that I frequently listen to, Steven Furtick, preached a powerful sermon in regards to two particular ships in the Bible. The ship that held Jonah’s escape and the ship that was taking Paul to Rome to stand trial. To make a very lengthy sermon painfully short, the entire point surrounded the question “Is the ship that you’re on better off because you’re on it?” The ship that held Jonah during his escape wasn’t safe until the members of the crew threw him overboard due to his disobedience to God. The ship that held Paul on its way to Rome was only safe while Paul’s righteous body sat firmly on it, saving the other 275 passengers aboard. Ask yourself if the ships that you’re travelling on are better off because you’re on them…
Honestly, I could type all day. There are so many points to make and so much scripture to quote and the sheer fact that I can type faster than some people can speak could honestly keep me here for hours, but I won’t do that to either one of us. My final point is this: Don’t be discouraged. If you’re a believer in Christ keep Romans 13:1 and Titus 3:1-2 close to your hearts. However, don’t just subject yourselves to the governing authorities, but pray for their decisions daily. Be ready to do whatever is good. Display true humility toward all mankind. …and then pick up your cross and follow the One who established these authorities in the first place.
If all of us did this, just imagine the difference we could make in the next four years. Hearts could be changed – and minds would soon follow. And then perhaps that moral compass won’t be so faulty after all…