“He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love….so that we might live for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1: 4, 12).
Please excuse me for stating the obvious again. This has been a divisive and polarizing season for our nation; and there has been a price to pay for it. I’m talking about the wounded relationships which result from thoughtless remarks or derisive comments, beginning with the remarks of the candidates themselves. I’ve appreciated many things that I’ve read on social media, even from those I disagree with, but I’m also very aware that the opportunities for anger, frustration, and misunderstanding have grown exponentially in this new era of internet chats. Can we agree that it’s very sad when friends or members of our own family no longer speak to one another because of strong ideological differences and misspoken words?
I realize that Jesus’ commands about reconciliation, and loving one’s enemies, are not very popular at a time like this…but they weren’t popular when he first spoke them either. In fact, a lot of what Jesus said and did was seen as weak, naïve, “crooked” and “deplorable”. Yet he kept on saying and doing these things nonetheless. Of course, what Jesus’ enemy love should look like is the question. Certainly it must include prayer, acts of reparation and forgiveness, and then the hard work of “light-bearing” -- as in “you are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). By His grace and power, we must be the very kinds of leaders that we keep on saying we need or would hope to elect to office – men and women of integrity, strength, humility, wisdom, justice, compassion, and great faith.
Whether or not we are ecstatic or discouraged today, I would encourage us to neither gloat nor despair. As disciples of Jesus, these are really beneath us. Our role as kingdom citizens requires more than a vote, a post, or a few water cooler harangues – as important as they may be. For us it is always, “further up and further in” (C.S. Lewis). We have, thankfully, other things to attend to now. Our great hope is not in earthly rulers, however talented (or un-talented), but in the Ruler of Heaven and Earth, in whom “all things are possible,” and a Risen Lord, and a Church, that has watched empires and nations, prime ministers and presidents, rise and fall for over two millennia. As citizens of that eternal Country, I would exhort you to boldly pray for the heart and soul and mind and strength of our next president, Donald Trump (1 Timothy 2: 1-2; Titus 1: 7-8), and for all those chosen to serve our nation this week.
This election year had many surprises, but consider one more: God elected us to serve before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1: 3-4). May we be ourselves the kinds of leaders we seek, and that would be pleasing to Him.