The refrain from an old hymn I learned as a child has been running through my mind lately, only the words seemed to have changed a bit: “My hope is built on nothing less than insert your presidential candidate here love and righteousness.”
I don’t generally talk politics, but the way the community I affiliate myself with is handling this election is making me so uneasy that I feel this message welling up within me and I can’t seem to shake it. What do I see that troubles me?
We are so full of fear.
The way the votes have swung, the articles I read, the outrage over which candidate certain evangelicals have backed, the all-out shear losing our minds over which way this election will go has me questioning where our faith rests. Not that certain issues in our country didn’t already have threads of concern weaving through my mind, but it seems this presidential election has brought our fears onto center stage and cemented some concerns I already had about the leanings of our Christian community at large.
I feel like we have forgotten whom our hope should be placed in. That God is control of our future, not whoever is elected president.
I feel like we have forgotten that America is not Israel. We are not the chosen nation of God.
I feel like we have forgotten who Jesus spent his time with, and who he opposed openly.
I feel like we have forgotten the story.
The story. Remember the one? The one where God created the world and set it in motion. Where mankind fell and with them all of us after and we are moving forward on the timeline to the day when all will be made right again, do you remember? The story where GOD is the writer, the editor, and the main character: not us, not our specific church or denomination and not our country.
The story where the kingdom that matters is not the one that will charge in with military might and take down all our enemies with brute force or harsh rulers and laws. Where we don’t need a man or woman to come in and fight for us, because God can use anyone or anything he wants to in order to work out the ending to His story. He once used a donkey to speak sense to a prophet; I think we need to think long and hard about that one.
The story where he has time and again used broken, sinful, messed up people to do mighty things for the kingdom. Adulterers, pagan worshippers, prostitutes, slaves, and scheming deceivers: all have been used mightily by God to accomplish his purposes. And if you think through that list of adjectives you will realize that these are the stories we teach in Sunday School to our children, that we preach sermons on during our weekly worship times and the ones we read about during our own personal times in the Word. How confusing it must be to our children to hear these stories told with so much faith on Sunday, but then watch as their parents lose their minds at the thought of someone with failings being elected to lead our country.
We have gotten too comfortable in our Americanized version of the Christian faith. I think deep down we know that and we are fighting with everything we have to make sure we keep those rights and privileges that make us so cozy.
Don’t hear me wrong, I’m comfortable too. I’m also hoping for an outcome where our rights are not suppressed, I’m just not afraid of it not happening. I almost expect it one day because in the Grand Story of the people of God we are told we will suffer before it’s all brought back together. It may be in my lifetime, or in the lifetime of my grandchildren, but our rights and freedoms are changing. If we have read our Bibles, we should expect this.
I’m teaching my children about the beauty of our country and our many freedoms, but I’m also teaching them not to put their hope in it. The world they raise their children in will likely look much different from this one, so I want them to be grounded in the Word and in their knowledge of who God is. Not grounded in what party line is the “Christian” one.
We cannot expect an unbelieving world to act like believers. And in that, we cannot expect an unbelieving world to fight for rights that go along with our beliefs. Sometimes one party leans closer to us, sometimes it’s another, but there is no party line that lines up with our Upside-Down Kingdom. Jesus is not democrat, republican, or independent; He is King.
We should vote. Our freedom as a country has been fought for and sacrificed for by many and we owe it to them to do our duty as a citizen. Study the issues, pray through the decision, decide whom you feel God is leading you to vote for, and then leave it in His hands.
No matter who becomes president, this country is not our home. This world is not our home. We are passing through, and we need to do our best to take care of our temporary home, but we should not put our faith in it.
Because our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.