Reflection ’08

Originally posted November 5, 2008

“The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.” ~ Dan 4:25b

Facebook really is a crazy thing. It’s amazing how much access into people’s lives we have at our fingertips… and how much we allow others to access our own. If you are reading this, chances are pretty good you’ve also been reading some of what I’ve written in the last couple months regarding the election. I will attempt in this entry to be far less “loquacious, nay, garrulous” (to borrow a quote from Brit Hume, poking fun at Joe Biden).

I’ve spent too much of the last 18 hours reading others’ responses to the election results. I’ve read everything ranging from “The world will end tomorrow!” (it didn’t) to “C’est la vie” (nothing so frustrating as apathy) to “Finally! The one who will right every wrong is here!” (nope… trust me, you’ll know when He comes) to “Obama Nation = Abomination” (clever, but unnecessarily divisive) to “God is in control” (true, but do you really mean that?).

Since you’re reading this, we’ll assume you want to know how I feel about it, so I’ll tell you. First of all, though, I want to address those of you who may not know Christ as Lord and Savior: A lot of what I write will have little to do with you. We have completely different worldviews, and a completely different perspective. Whether we agree politically or not, much of what I say will likely sound strange to you, and that’s fine. I still invite and encourage your thoughts, comments, questions and arguments.

I also urge you to not take at face value my words, nor those of any professing Christian. Rather, I would love for you to investigate the Scriptures yourself, to see whether things said in the name of Christ are consistent with His Word. We Christians are often accused of being “closed-minded”. Perhaps this criticism is deserved to a large extent. But are you willing to take the high road and approach God’s Word with an open mind? If so, I have just finished reading a book that I think would be a marvelous introduction to the Word of God, whether you are a skeptic, a cautious seeker, or even a Christian looking to develop a deeper appreciation for the Bible. The Reason for God, by Tim Keller. If you’d like, I’ll loan you my copy. I’m also happy to read/discuss your point of view. Really.

Now, for my Christian brothers and sisters. No matter how/if you voted, or what you may be feeling about President-Elect Obama, my greatest hope for you is that you will take a moment to truly meditate upon God’s sovereignty. I would say the exact same thing had John McCain won.

Every four years, our nation elects a leader, and, by the very nature of our political system, half of our citizens are upset with the results. In this regard, as in nearly every other identifying factor of Americans, Christians are virtually indistinguishable from the world. Why is this? Why are we so invested in the results of an election? Of course our lives will be dramatically affected by our government, but has the sun ever failed to rise? God IS in control, and His mercies are new each morning. Try to keep a little perspective.

Some Christians are very proud supporters of Barack Obama. While I am not part of this group, I can certainly see his allure. He is perhaps the best political speaker in history; certainly in recent American history. His rhetoric of hope is inspiring; his promises of social reform and pacifism appeal to our sensitivities. Whether one agrees with him or not, it is undeniable that he is a tremendous leader.

I do believe that many genuinely saved Christians diligently prayed over their election choice, and felt that Obama was the right choice. It is not my place to judge that decision. Still, I believe that someday each of us will be called upon to give an account for our choices, and when the time comes to defend your choice to vote for the man with the most radically liberal voting record on abortion in Congressional history, I can only hope you have a good answer.

This is not to say that McCain was by any means a “Godly” choice, either. As a matter of fact, in many ways, I think Republicans and Democrats today are virtually identical. Both parties have produced great reformers and great leaders; both parties have been unable to produce a candidate I can really get behind during my brief 10-year voting life. This is why I feel it’s important to carefully consider each candidate in each election (and this includes third-party candidates like Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, etc). But I digress.

Ultimately, nations will rise and fall, and God will still be seated on His throne. In the meantime, we have the immense privilege of living in a nation where the transfer of power is a peaceful occasion, and every voice is still heard, whether we be a minority or even standing alone. That in itself is a tremendous blessing!

Am I disappointed that Obama will be our next president? Yes. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I worried? Not at all. I do not agree with his policies, but, as he said in his (brilliant) acceptance speech, he is my president, too. I would still rather live in an Obama America than any other country in the world. I pray for him, and for the decisions he will make. My president has no bearing on my ability or my requirement to live according to the Spirit. I will fail; my God will forgive.

As a Christian, “place not your hope (there’s that word again) in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3). Why hope in things that might be, when we have true Hope in things that WILL be? Our motto should not be “Yes We Can”, but “Yes He Will!”

This does not mean that we can leave everything to God. He is more than able to accomplish His will without our help, but He desires to include us in the process! We must stay informed and stay active. We must continue to stand on His promises, to promote good will, and to fight injustice where we see it. We must learn to do all this with a measure of grace.

We very well may be in for some tough times in the coming years, but since when have we ever expected anything less? Let’s all agree to do our part to submit to the authority that has been given over us, working together inasmuch as we are able to do so without compromising those values on which God’s Word is clear.

Brothers, do not be caught up in the dealings of this world. Our Lord is coming quickly!

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. ~ Romans 9:14-23

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