by Pastor Mike Middaugh
“Is this really the best we can do?” That is a questions that many of us have uttered, or at least thought, in recent months. Sure, this elections cycle has created plenty of good fodder for Saturday Night Live skits, but no matter how you feel about either candidate right now, one thing we can probably all agree on is that we wish it would just be done.
I for one, am sad that for some of our kids, this election season is the first in their life they are old enough to understand and process. It seems a disheartening place to start (but maybe it will motivate them to create something better?). And I am distressed by the fact that we are so divided as a country, as friends, and as families. I have loved ones – people I know, care for, and respect – on either side of this election. And while we have always been a country divided, this time feels different, more angry, and more likely to do harm to our interpersonal relationships. We have moved past reason, ideals, and clean debating, into an area where emotion rules all. Suddenly, the way I “feel” about a topic has become more important than facts or well-researched opinion.This has all gotten under our skin, and causes us to lash out.
For the sake of our relationships and our civil discourse, I think November 9th cannot come soon enough. But several weeks ago, I read a reminder from author Max Lucado that helps make this season a bit more bearable.
Lucado made his prediction for November 9, and it is a good reminder:
Voters on both sides feel frustrated, even embarrassed by it all. There is a visceral fear, an angst about the result. What if so and so wins? When we wake up to November 9, post-election, when the confetti is swept away and the election is finally over, what will we see?
I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won’t on November 9, 2016. “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV).
Understanding God’s sovereignty over the nations opens the door to peace. Luther was adamant on this point. No one rules in this world, except by extension of God’s authority and for as long as God allows. We also know that God’s plan of salvation for his people, which is the biggest, most significant, and life altering movement the world has ever known, will not be swayed by any election or political process. The gospel goes forward, just as it always has.
No matter who wins in two Tuesdays God will remain on his throne. Lucado calls to mind the words of the prophet Jeremiah, written when Israel was at its lowest point:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25 (ESV)
The thing is, it’s not just the election that can drag us down and take our focus off of the One who reigns. Beyond politics and into every aspect of our lives, we can do well to remember these truths. My family is going through a pretty serious health scare involving my dad. I receive peace when I remember that God is in control. I have friends and acquaintances who are having to rebuild from a devastating hurricane. I hope and pray that they can find encouragement that God is in control.
Not only should we remember that God is in control, but we should put our trust in Him. We need to seek His direction for our lives. As the Lord told Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV).
Soli Deo Gloria. (To God Alone be the Glory)