Wow – what a night! Presidential election night, U.S.A., 2008
It is simply enormous what our country has just spoken out loud for the world to hear. Regardless of your political view of Jesse Jackson, his tears may capture it best – they symbolize more than most of us fully understand. An emotional Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday hailed the election of the first black U.S. president as an “extraordinary step forward.” We have come a very long way in a very short time, and I have a sense of pride that our United States leads the world once again in demonstrating its ability to grow, adapt, change and re-create itself. Nonetheless, change is difficult. People are going to naturally have apprehensions and fears about what the future holds – so what else is new?
I remember when many (then democrats, now staunch republicans) were lamenting in 1980 the trouble in which we would soon find ourselves as a result of a Reagan presidency. Just like now, that election above all else reflected a vote for change to the current state of the Union. As one of my Obama-leaning friends declared, “It is the balance of a two-party system” that keeps us healthy regardless the particular party politics, values and positions. She votes for balance, and there is wisdom in that. Is Barack ready, experienced enough, and equipped to be president?
Is anybody? Isn’t it at least a bit delusional when anyone believes they are equipped and ready to lead the free world?? He is our country’s leader, and scripture says all authority has been put in place by God. Our God-given and Spirit-empowered role as a church remains steady…our hope remains in Jesus and our confidence remains in the Father. He has all things in his hands. Let us do our part and pray for this man, his family, their protection, and our strength, direction and humility as a country.
Although this following addition will officially make this the longest blog I’ve ever posted, this entry from a fellow pastor says it better than me. Take it to heart… (thanks, Tod, for forwarding it to me).
Good Morning Church Family,
It’s Wednesday, November 5, the day after Election Day. How are you this morning?
Some of you may be very happy with the result.
Some may be heart-sick over it.
And some folks from both groups may be looking at each other and wondering “what’s their problem?”
Well, whether you are happy or heart-sick, as followers of Jesus our position and calling in this world has not changed overnight! We are still the same folks who must be salt and light. We are still the ones who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light and are on a mission to proclaim the excellencies of His light! We are still the ones who had not received mercy, but have now received His mercy! And we are no more aliens and strangers in this world this morning than we were at this time yesterday!
So, with that great first-century Apostle/Pastor Peter, let me encourage you and challenge you all to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul!” Remember, the ultimate war we fight, the ultimate battle we are in is the one being waged against us, not by those who disagree with us politically, but by our adversary the Devil! He is after your soul! So, “keep your behavior (your words today, your attitude today) excellent among the Gentiles (unbelievers), so that in the thing in which they slander you as evil doers, they may, on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12
In other words, the unbelieving world continues to watch us, listen to us and decide whether or not to believe us when we say Jesus is our all in all! Jesus is our Savior! Jesus is our King! Jesus is our hope! So, if you talk and act like a president-elect, or defeated presidential candidate was your hope, or your all in all, then you devalue Jesus before their eyes, and discount your witness for Him!
Let’s keep on lifting up Jesus, depending on Jesus, hoping in Jesus, and trusting Jesus! He is King, He is sovereign! He lifts up kings and puts them down. He does all things well! I know that it’s possible that within one church family, some may see the result of this election as an answer to prayer, and others may consider it God’s judgment. Well, either way, beginning today, we must all pray.
Starting today, we must put away partisan ideas, attitudes, and actions, and join hands and hearts to pray for our current President, who must continue to govern and serve the people for another 2 months, and to pray for our President-elect. How?
1 Timothy 2:1-4 tells us how to pray, why pray and what to expect…
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings, and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God, who desires all people to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
First, it’s hard to “give thanks” for “kings” when they are evil. But remember, Paul wrote this to a church who suffered horribly at the hands of an evil, totalitarian government. I think then, that this teaching means that anarchy is a terrible alternative to almost any ruler! We ought to give thanks for rulers because to have no rule would unleash unspeakable evil on our nation without any recourse! The more we understand the evil passions of the human heart that are ready to break free when there is no restraint, the more thankful we will be for government and leaders!
Second, pray that we can lead “peaceful, quiet lives, godly and dignified…” Paul doesn’t want us to be “stuffy” or “stiff” people. Dignified means “serious and reverent.” So, as we pray for a government that will give us the opportunity to live peaceful, quiet lives (not lives threatened with anarchy) then, let’s also pray that we don’t waste our lives during peaceful times. Let’s pray we will be radically godly and serious about the lost condition of the world around us. Let’s pray that if God answers our prayers for peaceful and quiet lives, that we will seize the opportunity to make the most of Jesus, rather than simply sitting back, enjoying the peace and following the passions of the world!
Third – Paul says that the reason God loves such peaceful, godly and serious action from our lives is that He “desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” If we Christians will use the peace God may give us, not to waste our lives on entertainment, or pursuing the stuff the world says brings the greatest pleasures, but seriously giving our lives to making Jesus known to those around us, then the greatest prayer we can pray will be answered, and more and more people will come to experience and celebrate the reign of King Jesus in their lives!