Our nation stands at the brink of an uncertain future, as we approach election 2016 in just days.
And this one feels big. Many are polarized or discouraged or deeply concerned about potential outcomes.
However, when we take a step back, and view our situation in light of the bigger picture of eternity and God’s Kingdom work, we can have peace, joy and trust in God, regardless of outcomes. His purposes and plan are greater than we can comprehend. They are bigger than us. They are bigger than our leaders. They are bigger than our nation.
Our worldly prosperity is not the ultimate goal of our existence. In fact, it may not even be what’s best for us. The ultimate goal is that we trust God, obey Him and follow His leading in our every day living. They ultimate goal is that He would be glorified in and through the world He created.
5 Things to Remember in the face of an Uncertain Election
1. God is in control and He is good.
God’s goodness and sovereignty are two unshakable truths at the center of His unchanging character and nature.
While I may not understand the intricacies of why evil is allowed rein to go forth into the world, I do know who holds those reins. He is infinitely greater than the Enemy and our sinfulness. He has ultimate and good purposes that involve bringing about salvation to all who would receive Him and revealing His glory.
While I may not understand the intricacies of suffering, the more I experience it, the more I see how God is using it to refine me and lead my wayward heart back to Him.
No matter how the tide turns in our nation or in the world, we can rest in these truths. And truly, learning to trust God’s unchanging nature feels a lot like rest.
Nothing surprises Him, and no authority will assume power without being established by Him. There is an epic drama being played out in the world, and we know how the story ends if we read the Bible. God wins, but sin must ripen. We should not be thrown by this.
He is still good. We can trust Him.
2. We must entrust our nation to God
As a nation, we want peace and prosperity. I certainly do. In fact, the Bible says we should pray for our leaders so that we may have peace.
But sometimes, in the United States, I think we feel entitled to it… We’re not.
Throughout scripture, when God speaks of His chosen nation, He’s referencing the literal nation of Israel or all those who follow Christ collectively —the true Church worldwide. And actually, many times, these references speak to both simultaneously. When we become Christ-followers, we are “adopted” into this original family, and become recipients and beneficiaries of God’s promise to Abraham. What a gift!
The United States, however, is not God’s chosen nation. Can we admit that we’re not even a nation who follows Him, overall?
According to the Barna Group, while 73% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, only 7% agreed with a list of seven Biblical doctrines surrounding Christ and salvation that qualified them as what the Barna Group termed “Evangelical Christians.” (you can read about this survey in more detail here).
We’re a “Christian nation,” but this is mostly a cultural Christianity —not an indication that the majority of our citizens have laid down their lives on God’s alter, and taken up the cross of Christ to follow Him.
What’s more, let’s not forget that collectively as a nation, we legally take the lives of nearly one million unborn babies every year. We do this because, apparently, the majority believes it to be right.
Ordinary people, killing easily, with many feeling no guilt whatsoever.
There are many, many other points where we as a nation are willfully pursuing sin, and expecting God to deal with it and be grateful for the nods we give Him. We forget that God is holy, and He doesn’t “owe us” anything.
So, from what I see, we are not a nation who follows God as a whole… not really. And that’s okay. Because sometimes, we can’t truly learn what it means to follow Him when it’s the popular thing to do. Sometimes, adversity is the what routs us out of our complacency and into surrender.
While none of this may not sound very comforting, it has some important implications.
When we accept that our nation is not entitled to blessing, and choose to entrust our country to God, align ourselves ultimately with Christ, and realize that our worldly interests don’t move the needle in light of eternity and God’s Kingdom work in the world, we will be able to whole-heartedly entrust our future to God, rediscover joy, and pray, not just for our own meaningless prosperity, but for His kingdom to come and for His will to be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
3. We effect mighty change when we pray.
God gives us the magnificent opportunity and responsibility to partner with Him in prayer for the advancement of His kingdom in the world.
And surely, God is more concerned with His Kingdom than ours.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them a model, known now as the Lord’s Prayer. It starts like this,
“Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
We ultimately pray, not for our own interests, but for His Kingdom.
This should be our ultimate desire and hope. We should ask for this diligently. God is up to something much bigger than us. The nations of the earth are dust on the scales in light of the greatness of God.
Additionally, if we want peace and dignity in our daily lives (and we should), we must pray for our leaders, regardless of our opinions about them. Pray that God would guide them. Pray that God would save them if they don’t know Him. Pray that God would bring about His glory and fame through their leadership, however that may be.
Are you ready to do that regardless of who is elected? If you are, it will turn your discouragement and fear into hope and perspective.
4. We must stay grateful
Whether your candidate does or doesn’t win on November 8th, will you still have a grateful heart? You should. Here’s Paul’s exhortation,
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
These verses were written to new believers who were facing persecution in the midst of a pagan culture. You could say there were some roadblocks to gratitude, but God’s eternal truths far exceeded those momentary difficulties.
Do you need something to be grateful for today? Be grateful for your enduring hope of heaven through Christ’s sacrifice.
And those children and grandchildren whose future you’re fretting for? First, pray that they would know God, and that He would give them the faith to trust and obey Him regardless of their circumstances or what the future holds, and then thank God for His promise to be with them (and you), even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
5. Our daily calling as a Christ-follower does not change, regardless of our context
Whether the times are favorable or not, whether we are popular or despised, whether we have plenty or are in need, our ultimate calling does not change.
Whatever our context we are called to:
- Clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
- Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and be thankful
- Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.(Colossians 3:12-15)
Let’s do that.
And let’s trust. Let’s obey. Let’s pray.
How are you trusting God as we head into election 2016?
If you want to spend some time with God, have your perspective renewed, and be comforted in the face of uncertainty, grab a Bible and journal, make a cup of tea, and read and meditate on Isaiah 40. Then take time to pray through the Lords prayer in light of current events. You can find this in Matthew 6:9-13.