I don’t know how many of you were like me last Tuesday night. I had trouble sleeping, feeling a bit like I had been kicked in the stomach and couldn’t get my breath. My emotions ranged from disappointment, to disbelief, to confusion, to anger, to discouragement with my mind trying to foresee what the outcome of the elections meant for the future of our country, and for our children and grandchildren, and for believers and churches that preach the Word, and for Christian organizations that choose to stand for biblical principles, and for companies run by Christians, etc, etc…. I imagined all sorts of scenarios and spent much time in prayer.
The next day as I was working on an outdoor project that didn’t require the attention of my mind, I had a good talk with God and my disappointment and discouragement turned to excitement, as God helped me remember that HE is still the one in control and will use the conditions of our country to “grow His Church.” I had to acknowledge that when things go our way and make it “easier” for us to openly live the Christian life we have the natural tendency–due to our old, sinful flesh–to become apathetic and complacent, which I believe the Church in this great nation definitely has become. As we look at the history of Christianity, we see that it has grown the most when it is persecuted the most. In fact, God had to use persecution to get the believers to leave Jerusalem. After Pentecost folks were getting saved daily in Jerusalem and they were having such a joyous time fellowshipping and enjoying Bible study together that they neglected God’s command (Acts 1:8) to also spread the Good News throughout Judea and Samarian and to the “remotest part of the earth.” Luke writes: “And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…Therefore those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:1b,4). Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Mt. 16:18). That’s a promise, and Jesus knows how to fulfill it. He knows just what it takes to build His church, and He makes no mistakes, nor does He waste anything. All is working as He plans.
I needed that reminder and to realize afresh that we must never stake our future on political success or failure. As believers, we should hold an eternal perspective (“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20), and that means standing for truth–whether it is winning or losing in the political arena. We cannot–indeed must not–depend on the government for our spiritual welfare. We need to continue “contending earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3) in an increasingly dark and hostile world–no matter what the outcome and must not succumb to the temptation to despair and disengage, believing that America is beyond hope. The outcome of the election emphasizes our mission as “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20) and we must renew our commitment to help hearts be reconciled to God, which is the only cure for society’s ills–not our government, not the White House, or Congress, or Supreme Court. The Psalmist wrote: “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psa. 146:3-5).
We who know Christ as Savior, local churches that uphold the Word, and Christian organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and The American Center for Law and Justice will probably face even greater spiritual battles in the near future regarding religious freedoms, traditional (biblical) marriage, freedom of speech–even from our pulpits, the sanctity of human life (beginning at conception), and the moral sins which are now called “acceptable alternate lifestyles.” As a nation we will be facing the consequences of our choice to go against a biblical world view. But, for us, it is time to get up, dust ourselves off, and trust in God’s ability to work either through or inspite of who is in the position of leadership.
Daniel, who was with the Jewish exiles in Babylon, and continued to stand for truth, no matter what the consequences might be for him and for His people, said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs (seasons); He removes kings and establishes kings…” (Dan. 2:20,21). The Apostle Paul, who was living under the oppressive ungodly Roman Empire, wrote this to the believers in Rome: “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Ro. 13:1). Wow, that’s pretty clear! I would say, that God is ultimately calling the shots. I recall a song we used to sing at church: “God is still on the throne, Almighty God is He; and He cares for His own throughout eternity. So, let come what may, whatever it is I only say that ‘I have Christ in my heart.’ ” In other words, for this I have Jesus. Praise God, I’m on the winning side!
Still in His care, and excited about the future!