It’s election day in America and it remains to be seen whether or not America’s future is bright or dismal. Both sides claim that nothing less than this is at stake and that the stakes have never been higher in the history of our nation. I agree with a blogger I read a couple months ago who observed that probably the voters and non-voters (women and slaves) of 1860 wouldn’t agree with our assessment of this election when the preservation of the Union and the question of whether or not this nation would continue to allow human beings to own other human beings hung in the balance. I’m not downplaying the importance of this election, just pleading for some perspective.
My random thoughts on this election day:
- I am thankful. I am thankful to God for allowing me to live in a nation where I get to participate in the process of choosing government leaders. I am thankful to the thousands upon thousands of Americans who have spilled their blood on battlefields to secure and preserve this privilege. That cost brings a sacredness to this privilege.
- I am optimistic. It is an optimism that is not born in politics but theology. Whether or not the guy I voted for wins or loses I know that overwhelming victory is mine through Jesus Christ who loved me (Rom. 8:37) and that this victory makes any election pale in comparison.
- I am sad. The political gulf that exists between whites and people of color in America exists in the church. I am coming to see more clearly why, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., and echoed by evangelical pastor Tony Evans, “11:00 o’clock Sunday mornings is the most segregated hour of the week.” In 2010, Time magazine published a story (you can read it here) on this divide noting that fewer than 8% of American congregations have a racial mix. It is sobering to realize that a magazine of such national stature has embarrassingly observed that Christian churches seem to do worse at positive racial relations than the world does. Politics is one of the things that keeps black and white Christians divided into separate churches because, I guess, it’s just plain easier to hang around people who agree with your politics. I’m sad over that; sometimes I’m just plain mad.
- I am undeterred. No matter who wins the election, my work remains the same. I will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God that saves sinners from hell. I will shepherd the flock committed to my care, working to anchor us in God’s truth, and leading us to love the vast diversity of people around us enough to reach out to them.
- I am prayerful. As I obey God’s Word and pray for the President, the Congress and courts, I am praying that they would leave Christians alone to live out our faith in Christ (1 Timothy 2:2). I am going to pray for moral courage and common sense to begin to rule more people in Washington, D.C. when it comes to curbing the treachery of abortion. I am going to pray for Democrats and Republicans to figure out some way to get some helpful things accomplished for our nation. I am going to pray for wisdom to speak God’s truth and righteousness in such a way as to not unnecessarily create enemies out of the people I’m here to reach because of being reckless with my words.
My projection on this election night is that the work I’ve been left here to do will get harder, humanly speaking, and will become more unpopular with the general populace. But I will remember this, nothing ever gets harder for God.