Grieve and Stand
I awoke Monday feeling like I was stuck in a bad dream. After last week’s “revelations” and the debate, I found myself deeply troubled. Embarrassed. Baffled. Over the last few months, one thing has become clear: the future looks rather grim.
But it’s not just the future. This moment feels like a bar room brawl.
I look around and see a great deal of fear in the faces of Christians around me. I hear it in the blog battles and Facebook arguments. Fear of what may come. It tears at seams of trust between believers. It draws out bitter words between brothers and sisters. It is driving us into panic mode.
This breaks my heart. It should not be so.
I also see the gory political train wreck unfolding in grisly detail before our eyes. No wonder we have fear. Do we choose a progressivism that stands in opposition to so many of my convictions? Or a secular, angry conservativism that is rooted in fear of “the other” and devoid of a strong moral center? If there is a “lesser” between this choice of two evils, I have no idea where it lay.
This also breaks my heart. Why such a terrible choice?
The church should be grieving right now. It is entirely appropriate. Regardless of how this election pans out, our country is facing distressing leadership. Regardless of which candidate wins, policies will be pursued that stand in stark opposition to the gospel. Regardless of what transpires on November 8, our exilic self-awareness (1 Pet. 1:1) can only increase. It is right for us to weep for our country before God.
And yet – it is not right for us to be afraid. Fear is the response of the vulnerable. Fear is the reaction of the threatened. We are neither.
Hear me friends: neither the candidates nor the office of President of the United States of America are stable ground for our hope. While there is much to be said for Christian involvement, for voting for candidates who will protect religious freedom, who will repeal pro-abortion laws, etc., we must not spend our time fretting. This country – for all of its goodness – does not hold our ultimate hope. Because it does not (should not) hold our primary allegiance.
As a Christian, I have been baptized into the kingdom of the King of kings, before whom every knee will bow and tongue confess as Lord (Phil. 2:10-11). I serve the God who stands sovereign over rulers and authorities (Rom. 13). I grieve for this country. But I am not threatened.
You should care about this election. You should feel frustrated about this election. You should agonize, cry out to God for mercy. But Christian, you have an obligation before even those emotions: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33). As grotesque and disturbing as this election is, it does not threaten the throne of Jesus, our hope. Regardless of how good or bad any election may be, we are always (until our King returns) a people in waiting. Waiting for the return of the One to whom we pledge absolute allegiance.
So Christian, be a concerned American citizen, but as a citizen of heaven. Vote well, but in the confidence of the supreme sovereignty of the King of kings.
Do not fear, Christian. Grieve, yes. But stand firm in the courage the gospel brings. Face the looming darkness with a face like flint because of Jesus.
It is no trite or throwaway comment to declare that our God yet sits on the throne. It is the most solid and glorious thing you can stand upon today.