“The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.” – Psalm 10:16.
I’m not sure which I’m more concerned about today—Obama’s winning the election, or the despairing/cynical/fearful response some have toward it. I don’t write this post to judge anyone or what they are thinking, but to feel out my own thoughts as I consider Obama being President for four more years, and what my attitude should look like.
I remember being on a short-term missions trip in Spain ten years ago, and working together with a team of Christians from multiple countries. There were times when I was the only American in the room, and it was both exciting and eye-opening. I was shocked, for instance, when a girl from Brazil made it clear that she very much disliked George W. Bush and was basically anti-American. Wait a second—a Christian who doesn’t love America? Is such a thing possible?
You could argue that she was influenced by wrong propaganda, etc., etc., etc., and I didn’t agree with her opinion, but the fact remained that there we were, two believers in the same God, working in unity together, and fortunately distributing Bibles, not David Barton’s The Light and the Glory. I’m remembering this today as I consider some of the ideas whirling around:
This is the end of the world. No, it’s not. God is the Author of history, this is part of His story, and it keeps on going. Somehow this 2012 election is part (and a very small part) of His big plan. He knows what’s He’s doing, and the final chapter is a good one. Our job is to do what we are responsible for and trust Him for the rest.
America, once the world’s beacon of light, is now falling into darkness. Thankfully America (and particularly American politics) is not at the center of God’s plan. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be concerned about our government—we should be, but it’s not primary. We need to zoom out—globally and historically. A global perspective tells us that God is active in His Church around the world, and no government can stop His plan. Under poverty and oppression, the Gospel still flourishes. Despite our problems, we can be thankful that we still live under greater freedom and wealth than most people can imagine. A historical perspective reminds us that leaders rise and fall, some good, some bad—countries rise and fall—God keeps going.
Politics is the only (or the primary) way to bring about change. Politics is important and I’m grateful for all the Christians who are called to that arena of life. But politics is also kind of like a game—we can give it healthy attention or unhealthy addiction/dependence. Real change happens one person, one heart, at a time. It’s one thing, for instance, to put up a political sign or distribute a political flyer—though there’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m grateful for those who do it, to me at least it seems one step removed from where the real battle lies. Real change is helping an unwed pregnant mother or adopting an orphan or feeding the homeless or sharing the Gospel with a homosexual friend, showing love and not condemnation.
What kind of world will my children grow up in? Sometimes I think I didn’t know worry until I became a mother. Now I hold Elanor close and wonder what kind of world she and David will face. Will women be respected? Will they be free to practice their religion and raise their own families? Will they be able to find jobs? Will they meet mockery and wickedness at every turn, and how will they react? All I know is that God cares for my children more than I do. I didn’t birth Elanor this year with the confidence that Romney would win and therefore she would somehow as a result have a godly America to grow up in—how silly that would be. We bring children in the world confident that the Lord will be their shepherd and if they trust in Him, He will lead them through this dark world with a purpose for His glory.
Our economy is sunk. Maybe so, and money is just money. People are so much more important. What exactly are we afraid of? Let’s take the worst case scenario and say in four years we’ll all be unemployed, foreclosed on our homes, and eating rice and beans to survive. That could be an incredible opportunity to show that godliness with contentment is great gain. I’m not saying I wouldn’t shed tears over it, but God is still God and I hope if I lost every dollar to my name I would still trust in Him.
So those are my thoughts … trying to care without worrying, trying to find hope and peace without complacency and cynicism.