October 11, 2016

What I Know (concerning this election)

The political climate of this current presidential election has been the most controversial, confusing, sensationalized and polarizing I’ve seen in my years of living on this earth. I can’t speak for the generations before me, but of mine, I think this takes the cake. I can’t stomach a whole lot of it, but thanks to Facebook I am as informed as my friends are and their friends’ friends’ friends are and so on into infinity. It's confusing and peace-stealing. By not tuning into the endless political pontificating in the news, and by choosing to watch football instead of the debates, we try to not let it affect us. But despite these precautions, we still are sometimes in places where we cannot help but be exposed to the news, to hear other’s unasked for opinions or to be pulled into political discussions and so on. Unless you live on a lonely mountain somewhere or deep in the swamp without wifi, internet, satellite or cable its pretty much impossible to get away from it and it’s hard to be blissfully uninformed these days. (To be clear, I'm not advocating being uninformed, I'm just sharing how I cope). :P

But I’ve never seen such polarization even among Christians. For every article on why you can’t be a Christian and vote for Hillary, I see just as many questioning the salvation of those who are voting for Trump. Its ridiculous and upsetting and confusing. It's easy in this season to question what matters most when so much is wrong. Different church and political leaders who I have respected in the past, have added to the confusion with such differing views from one another. There’s no clear good vs. evil like in the old days. There's so much legitimately wrong with both candidates that it’s looking like a case of 'pick your poison' and nobody wins. The other day I got dragged into a political discussion and by the end of it my stomach was in knots and I was despairing of life and the future of my grandkids. I seriously wanted to throw up and just had to get away. It took me nearly three days before I could feel peace return. So much concern for my country and for the body of Christ which appears divided. So many questions. So much I don't know:

Which side is right? Are they both? Are neither? Are we doomed? Should we vote or not even bother? And who the heck should we vote for? Should we just give up? Should we fight harder?

I don’t know.

And I still don't entirely know the answer to every single question. However, after wrestling with my thoughts and praying a lot, I have emerged with some things I DO know and that the Lord has placed on my heart and reminded me of... Here they are:

1. Trump and Hillary and each person who loves them, hates them and those who don't care- were each created in the image of God.

2. Jesus gave up His life, He died on the cross for Trump and Hillary and for those who love them, those who hate them, those who don’t care.

3. Since this is true and God loves and values them, He expects me to also love and value Trump and Hillary and those who love them, those who hate them and those who don’t care.

4. God’s not a Republican or a Democrat. He’s not even American! He loves each one and each nation equally. Now that doesn’t mean we should disrespect our nation, those who fought for it or those who govern it. But He does love universally and He never violates that love by being unloving to another He created. 

5. God isn’t worried. He’s not up in heaven wringing His hands in anxiety. He’s not wondering what to do. He’s not taken by surprise. He’s not angry at whoever is wrong (I guarantee we each are wrong in something). But He’s got a plan… even if we screw it up- which leads to the next thing I know…

6. God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. There have been dark times down through history, times darker than this, people in authority who were worse than these- and through those times people drew nearer to God, things in their hearts were exposed and they dealt with them. Their character grew, their wisdom grew, their love grew, their roots went deeper and the Kingdom of God was advanced. Which leads to this last one…

7. We don’t need to be so distraught, so angry, so worried, so distracted by and caught up in the horror of this current political mess to miss this opportunity to shine God’s light and love on a dark world that desperately needs Him.  We need to get this into perspective: There are worse things than our chosen candidate not winning. Worse things like people dying without hope and without knowing how dearly loved and valuable they are. And troubled times are a great revealer. They expose where we really are and what’s the most important. If your house was on fire (or being flooded as my friends in south Louisiana know all too well) what would you grab first? And what would you not bother with? Troubled times cause us to cut to the chase and get real about what is important. “Everything that can be shaken will be shaken.”… we are being shaken and its showing our true colors and our greatest needs. And the world needs Jesus. And we are His only representatives on this earth. While the darkness is increasing and the heat has been turned up, let us not be so distracted by and focused on the political whirlwind around us that we miss this golden opportunity to focus on what really matters to Him: people. And to share and represent the hope we have in Jesus and to tangibly show His love.   

Yes, I will vote on November 8, for the one who I think will best elect the Supreme Court judges who will make laws which I feel are the most important. I encourage each of you to go to God and get His direction. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your opinions- if it's done in a way that respects and honors those of differing views- and to stand up for the truth in a loving way unique to you.  But let us get this whole thing in perspective- people before politics, relationships before opinions. Find common ground with those you differ with and love them where they’re at. And be humble. Remember you may be wrong! And if who you think should be elected isn’t, don’t despair. Our hope isn’t in a political party or a president, or in our rights as citizens- our hope is in the Lord. It’s always been that way and it always will be. We just know it now. And for that I am glad. Amen.