I came up with the idea of a diary about how Christians should respond to this election all the way back in August when it was already clear Trump wasn’t gonna change, and that barring a miracle, Hillary would be elected as our next president. I realized there would be much finger-pointing and blaming going around, and many predictions of doom and gloom. I decided that as Christians we needed a counter-narrative to push back against the cynicism and nihilistic attitude that will be spread by Trumpsters on election night and beyond.
We need a message of hope and encouragement, because as long as we’re alive and have Jesus in our lives, there is always hope. He promised to never abandon us, and to always answer our prayers, even if it’s not the way we expect Him to. Circumstances may change around us, but God never changes, and that should bring us comfort in the midst of the chaos and anger surrounding this election.
The idea that this election will bring about the destruction of America, and that we should plan our entire lives around it just isn’t based in reality. But beyond that, it represents the antithesis of a Christian worldview, and I would daresay is anti-Christian. It’s turning politics into an idol, and implicitly saying that because we’re helpless to stop the results of an election, we should just give up, as if God no longer has any power or role in our lives. The people who make this argument often claim to be Christian, but it’s clear they lack a basic understanding of what it means to be Christian, or what the role of government and politics should be in our lives.
The Christian community in America badly needs a new perspective when it comes to politics. This is my attempt to remind my fellow Christians that most things in this life are out of our control, and that’s a good thing, because it means God is in control, and He knows far better than us what is best for us. We often become paralyzed by fear, and this drives us to try to control everything in our lives and even outside of our lives. This shows a lack of trust in God. A faithful Christian knows that in order to have peace in this life, we don’t have to try to control everything. Rather, all we have to do is put everything in God’s hands, and pray that His will be done. This applies to politics, along with everything else in life.
We were not made for this world, but for the next. We are merely wanderers in this strange land. Society has convinced many of us that this is the real world and heaven and hell are the shadow worlds, but in reality the opposite is true. This is the shadow world. The real world is eternity, where our true home lies. That will either be Heaven, if we live our lives in accordance with God’s will, or Hell, if we choose to live for ourselves and refuse to worship and obey God, as Satan did.
It’s time we started living as our Christian ancestors did, especially the ones who were persecuted for their faith. They knew there would be suffering in this life, and possibly even gruesome death, yet they remained joyful and full of hope, because they knew Jesus would reward them for their faithfulness and perseverance in the face of chaos, destruction, and hate. They didn’t let the political battles of their time consume them, or define them, because they knew as Christians, we’re called to be in this world, but not of it.
There is little doubt in my mind that we face a rough four years with Hillary as president. But four years on this planet is a drop in the bucket of eternity, no matter what happens during that time. Let’s live as if we knew today was our last day on Earth, because it very well could be. If that was the case, would we be obsessing over and complaining about Hillary being elected president? I know I wouldn’t. I would be trying to do as much good in this world as I possibly could, and trying to help Jesus save as many souls as I could while I still had the chance.
Shouldn’t we live that way now, even if we end up living for another 10, 20, or even 50 years?
After all, when we die, I doubt the first question Jesus asks us is “So, how did you vote in the 2016 election?” My guess is it will be more along the lines of: “My beloved son/daughter, do you want to spend all eternity with me? If so, have you lived your life in service to Me and your fellow man, or for yourself and your own needs and desires?” He’ll already know the answer, and will already have a judgment prepared for us, but He’ll still expect us to give an accounting for our life, and it’ll have nothing to do with this election, or any other for that matter.
With that said, the following is my sincere prayer for the future of America as well as the future of the Christian community here.
A prayer for the future of America, and for the community of believers
I pray that you send your Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds and illuminate the way forward for us after this election. We have two paths ahead of us: One involves fighting everyone who even slightly disagrees with us, and choosing to see the worst in people. The other involves trying to find common ground, meeting people where they’re at, and choosing to see the best in people.
Some people say we deserve better than the choices we’ve been presented with in this election. We don’t. In fact, due to Original Sin, we all deserve far worse. But instead of giving us what we truly deserve, You gave us life by dying on the Cross and bearing the punishment we should’ve received for our sins. How arrogant are we, that we just assume America will last forever? In the Bible, You promised us eternal life if we followed You, You didn’t promise that American would always exist, and certainly not as we currently know it.
As a nation, we’ve lost our way. We’ve given up on You, and on our families and communities, and have largely chosen to live for ourselves and our selfish desires. How can we expect to be blessed as a nation if we live our daily lives as if You don’t exist? At this point, it doesn’t much matter who our president is, at least not nearly as much as it used to, because he or she will be leading a nation that’s broken from its failures, exhausted from its addictions and meaningless routines, and divided over everything imaginable.
Why are we so divided? I would argue it’s because we no longer have a shared set of values and beliefs, and that’s because we’ve collectively lost our faith. A nation with a vibrant and strong faith community would never have allowed such incompetent and immoral candidates to become our nominees. Hillary’s presidency is an indictment of us. We all must take a look inside and reflect on what we’ve done to contribute to this mess we find ourselves in. None of us are completely innocent, but some far less than others.
Lord, we have strayed from the narrow path, but I know it’s never too late to turn back to You. You assured us of this many times in the Bible. No sin is so great that it can’t be forgiven by You. This has nothing to do with who is or isn’t president in 2017. Many Americans, and sadly, many Christians, want to put all the focus on the presidency in order to cover up their own sins, failures, and bad decisions.
It’s time to stop pointing fingers and blaming others for our own failures and weaknesses. We’ve become like the Israelites in the desert. They lost their faith in You and began to worship idols. For this, You punished them by forcing them to wander in the desert for forty years. We Americans have created our own idols, and have been worshiping them for decades, such as:
Drugs, sex, technology, science, fame, money, social status, career goals, and politics, to name the most common ones.
They’ve all replaced You as our gods. We will be punished for this, and it’s a matter of when, not if it’ll happen. If You actually gave us the punishment we deserve, it would make four years of a Hillary presidency seem like a vacation by comparison. My solemn prayer is that You send us a leader like Moses who will be an example for all of us and who will inspire a revival of faith in this country. But in the meantime, it’s up to us to be the change we wanna see in the world. It’s up to us to rebuild our families, churches, and communities. A president can help, but he or she can’t do the hard work of everyday life that it will take to accomplish these tasks.
All that being said, all is not lost. In fact there is reason for great hope, if not for our country then at least for the community of believers. Throughout history, God has used great trials and tribulations to both test and strengthen the faith of Christians. Many failed those tests, but many passed them, even if it meant sacrificing their lives, as the martyrs did.
Your ways are mysterious, and nobody can even come close to understanding them, try as we might. But why would we expect You to treat us any differently than You treated Christians in the past? Surely, we will have to spend some time wandering in the desert as well. But that’s ok, because if we stay faithful to You, it will lead us to the promised land.
I strongly believe this is the best time to be alive for Christians. There aren’t many people left who truly live to serve God and others, while putting themselves last. But that just tells us that God is calling us Christians to be salt and light for the rest of the world during this dark time. Instead of being afraid of the world, let us engage it, and transform it. The greater the darkness is, the brighter a light can shine in it. Let us be that light and illuminate the way to Jesus.
In the years to come, let’s return to our God, families, churches, and communities. Once we fix them, the culture can follow, and maybe then we can fix our broken and corrupt political system. But that system, and our dishonest and corrupt politicians who dominate it only reflect what’s going on in the rest of society. Let’s change ourselves first, because we are the biggest and most dangerous enemy we face, both collectively and individually.
Rome began to rot from within, and only collapsed because of the weakness of its own society and institutions. I pray we study history and learn from their mistakes. If we can overcome our own fears, weaknesses, and bad habits, we can solve most of the problems facing our nation. This election, while important, is only a blip on the radar screen of history. But how we react to it, and how we choose to live our lives going forward, will be recorded by God for all eternity.
Jesus, give us the wisdom to see the differences between right and wrong in all aspects of our lives, even in the most complicated situations. Give us the courage to stand up for what is right, even if we’re the only people left on the planet standing for it. Send us Your Holy Spirit so that we can serve You with zeal, and give everything we have to do Your will and save souls. Give us the peace that surpasses all understanding, so that we’ll never give into cynicism and despair. Give us hope, that we may always be looking ahead to our future with You. Most importantly, give us love, so that we can share it with others, because nothing we do involving others matters if we don’t do it with love.
This election might not have turned out the way we wanted, but we can be at peace with the results if we keep in mind this eternal truth: No matter what happens on this Earth, You’ve already won the war against Satan and all of his evil forces. As long as we remain faithful to You, You’ll reward us by allowing us to share in Your glory in Heaven for all eternity. When viewed from that perspective, this election seems trivial indeed.
Lord, I’m sorry I’ve failed You so many times, but I promise to do my best to be the man You created me to be. I would ask my fellow citizens to join me in trying to be the best versions of ourselves, because America can only be great if she is good, and she can only be good if her citizens lead lives of virtue centered on Judeo-Christian values and principles.
Thank You for everything You’ve blessed us with, and from here on out, may we live our lives as if we only have one day left to live. Let us live for You and for others, so that You may bless us in the future. If we do that, we won’t have to be so worried about the results of one election, because we’ll be victors in a far more important battle- the eternal one between good and evil. We know that if we walk the narrow path with You, we’ll be on the side of the Winner, no matter what happens on November 8th.
In part 2 , I’ll explain why there are still reasons to have hope, no matter what the outcome of this election is.