Wednesday, November 9, 2016

One Christian’s Response to the 2016 Election

God Is Still Large and In Charge 

Holy cow! What just happened?

Today some people are celebrating! (I spoke with one man on the phone this morning who sounded as if he had just won the lottery! He was so excited about Trump’s win.)

Others are weeping. (One individual texted me and said she was sobbing as she described her fears about our future.)

24-hour news channels are wondering why they paid their so-called “experts” who completely and totally blew it! (How many political experts does it take to change a light bulb? Not a dang one! Real people just do it, while they sit around and talk about how it needs to be done…)

So, for what it’s worth, here are a few of my reflections on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. 

1.     God is still sovereign!

He wasn’t biting his nails last evening at 2 am waiting for the results to come in from Pennsylvania. He wasn’t blindsided by the primaries that left us with two of the most unlikeable candidates in history. God is sovereign! He is large and in charge.

A Jewish prophet by the name of Daniel described God like this:

Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. 21 He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…” —Daniel 2:19b-21a NLT

And then, in Daniel 4:17, the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses even to the lowliest of people.” (Cross Reference Daniel 4:25)

One more… Romans 13:1 gives us this challenge: Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

This morning someone asked me if I stayed up last night watching the election results. Absolutely not! Instead of listening to the so called “experts” continue to pontificate into the wee hours of the morning, I decided I would go to bed early, knowing that regardless of who “won” during the night, when I woke the next morning,

Jesus would still be King, and,
God would still be sovereign!

Further, anything that happened over night would all be part of God working things together for His great glory and our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Today is not a day for gloating if your candidate happened to win.

It’s not a day for overdosing on Xanax or posting memes of a Trump piñata if your candidate lost. 

It’s a day for humble worship! God is still sovereign! Jesus is still “on the throne” 

2.     People still matter.

During each election the thing that I’m almost always most disheartened by is how many Christians place their hope in a political candidate or party. How we often post memes that are unloving, unkind and many times downright nasty, cruel and divisive.

How we dehumanize others simply because we disagree with their political point of view. How we forget that the very people with whom we argue, debate, or call names are the very people for whom Jesus died! How we too easily forget that people matter to God and they’ve got to matter to you and me!

People who call themselves “Republicans” matter to God!
Those who call themselves “Democrats” matter, too!
The people on “the Trump Train” matter!
Everybody who was “with her” matters!
Libertarians matter!
Independents matter!

So, before you post that clever smack down to somebody on “the Trump train,” before you put that Hillary supporter in their place, remember that the person you’re about to pick a fight with is a person Jesus died for.

“…the love of Christ controls us, because we believe that Christ died for all…”
—2 Corinthians 5:14

Jesus died for Hillary, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Donald Trump! He died for all their supporters, too! “…Christ died for all…”

This morning this verse came up in my devotional reading plan.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” —Philippians 4:5 NIV

The Message reads like this: Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.”

Wow! I needed that! Instead of arguing with people about my political opinion, somehow I need to “…make it as clear as I can to everyone I meet that I’m on their side, working with them and not against them.”

I can’t change Washington!
      I can’t change the United States!
            I may not be able to change Birmingham!
But it’s possible, I can let God change me, and if I change, then maybe I can change one person’s life by letting them know, “I’m on your side!” 

3.     Prayer still makes a difference!

I know, I know… Reconciling the sovereignty of God, human responsibility and the power of prayer is a mind bender and way above my pay grade. Seriously! It’s way above my pay grade and out of the stratosphere in regards to my intellect… But I sincerely believe in all three.

So, Trump isn’t your “cup of tea”?

Maybe you feel somewhat put off by some of his comments about women, immigrants, Muslims, etc.?

Maybe you feel he’s somewhat impulsive or reckless?

Could I suggest that you pray for him. Just pray for him. In fact, according to the Bible, this isn’t a suggestion, it’s actually a command.

 “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” —1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT

4.     Resist fear. Lean into hope!

Going into this election, there were a few issues that were really important to me as a guy who wants to follow Jesus.

(1)  The sanctity of human life

I believe that every life matters – from conception to the grave – every life matters. (Psalm 139)

(2)  Religious freedom and liberty

In recent years, government has been ever so gradually and systematically chipping away at the freedom we have to walk out our faith in a humble, quiet and peaceful manner (1 Tim 2:1-2; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17).

(3)  Respect and support for Israel

Call me foolish, but I still believe God blesses those who bless Israel, and that those who curse Israel, He will also curse (Gen 12:3; 49:9; Num 24:9; Psalm 122)

(4)  Financial sanity

The debt we’ve created as a nation is a legacy our children and grandchildren will inherit. At some point, this issue will have to be addressed.

While I wasn’t convinced that either of the major party candidates had plans to fully address any of these issues, I ended up voting for the one I believed presented a platform most likely to honor these values.

Now, it’s time for me to trust God to do what God and God alone can do.

“The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.” —Proverbs 21:1

Throughout history God has used some very flawed individuals to bring about His purpose and plan. Every week, I’m amazed by the fact that God uses a broken, messed up guy like me to lead a2 Church. Go figure...

Today and for the next four years, I’ll be praying that God will once again demonstrate His extravagant grace, absolute sovereignty and unceasing faithfulness by using President-Elect Donald Trump to accomplish His purpose and plan for this country that I so love.

God is still sovereign!
Jesus is still King!
People still matter!
I refuse to live in fear! 
I choose to live with hope!

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