This special post is the transcript from Pastor Mike's special exhortation and prayer from our Sunday gathering on October 30th. You can watch the video at the bottom of the page.
I don't think anyone who has followed the election year antics and rhetoric in 2016 would argue with the proposition that this has been not only the strangest election year in decades, but possibly the most polarizing, divisive and at times, downright disgusting display we have ever seen in the world of politics. One meme I saw recently sums it up well: 2016: The year when a president is elected solely based on being less criminally insane than their opponent, and it is still too close to tell. More than ever, this campaign season has been marked by such vitriolic partisanship that polite, reasoned conversation over political issues is impossible. To say that you support one candidate or the other puts you immediately on the opposition's hate list.
There have been many responses to the choices before us in November. There is what I call the chicken little component. Whichever candidate is put forth as the best candidate for the job, it draws immediate claims from the opposition that either Armageddon will commence or tyranny will rob us of our liberty. If Trump gets elected, the sky will fall. If Clinton gets elected, the sky will fall. Either result brings disaster. And both candidates are viewed as some kind of political savior from the other.
And then you have those who argue that since no presidential candidate has ever been the ultimate, pristine example of moral or spiritual rectitude, we should simply hold our noses while we vote for the best of two weevils, as Commander Alan Aubrey once noted. As columnist P. J. O’Rourke wrote: “I am endorsing Hillary, and all her lies and all her empty promises. . . . She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”1
You also have those who are so thoroughly disgusted by the whole thing they simply opt out of voting. Concerns over horror stories about voter fraud, despair over fears that the election is somehow rigged in favor of the candidate they don't like, despondency over the lack of qualified candidates, or simply surrendering to the notion that in spite of everything, their vote won't count, a lot of people are walking away from the election process. Over it all, especially in Christian circles, there seems to be a kind of fear that if we lose this election, (whether you champion a Clinton win or a Trump win) everything will go to hell in a hand basket. There seems to be an unhealthy reliance on, and unrealistic expectations for, a human institution, that works to nullify the promises of God.
What I want to say about this election is that whatever your persuasion, Jesus must not become small in our eyes. The fear of what may happen must not either paralyze us into inaction nor lead us to demonize those who do not agree with our politics, nor cause us to make choices that are antithetical to the gospel we proclaim or the God we serve. The world must not become bigger than God in our eyes. The fear, worry and anxiety over the outcome of this or any election should not cause us to lose a sense of who we are as the people of God – strangers and aliens in the world and citizens of heaven, who serve the sovereign Lord of history. We can therefore, confidently vote the dictates of our conscience, and leave the consequences to Him.
Listen to the word of the Lord: Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 146:3-10)
In these days before the election, all of us should hold on to this hope—not in a candidate or a political process, but in the sovereign Lord who reigns over it all. We do not serve idols. We serve the living God.
Our gracious God and Sovereign Lord,
You are the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. You stand over all the twists and turns of history; You change times and seasons; You remove kings and set up kings; You give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what is in the darkness,and the light dwells with You.
Grant us a deep and lasting trust in You, especially in these days. Turn our worry and our fears and our anxious thoughts into fervent prayer to You. Let us not be shaken by thoughts of what might be, but let us be strengthened by the knowledge of who You are. May we know the meaning of living in the world but not being of the world; of being actively engaged in the world but having our lives hidden with Christ in God; and rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God's. Let our love for You overflow in kindness to all, especially to those who hate us.
Grant that we would treasure Jesus Christ above all, and tell everyone of His rule and reign over all leaders and all nations, of His kingdom that knows no end, and of His loving-kindness and compassion. Let us tell the oppressed of the justice of God; let us tell those who hunger of the God who satisfies every need; let us tell the downtrodden and the prisoner of the God who sets them free; let us tell those who despair that God will one day right every wrong and wipe away every tear; and that long after this country is a footnote in the history of the world, God will reign with His redeemed people from every tribe and tongue and nation. Let us be those who delight in God through Jesus Christ, spreading His joy through the gospel to all people we pray in the name of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Watch the video below: