It is almost here- the day Americans will go into the voting booth and vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or another minor candidate.
The best part about the imminent arrival of election day is that all the political posting and advertising will cease. The worst part is that one of the candidates will win.
While there are people who are excited to vote for one of the presidential nominees, most of the people I know are confused and discouraged by the choices. Quite frankly, if I think about it too long, I get down in the dumps too.
So what do we do? How do you and I approach election day so that regardless of the outcome, we can move forward and face the future with confidence? Well, I will tell you what I am going to do.
1. Cheer up
When I get in a funk and depressed about the future of our country, I encourage myself with a Psalm, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." (Psalm 43:5 ESV)
And then I remember- since there is no candidate for me to hope in, I have no obstacle to hoping in God. I am not even tempted to take my eyes off my Savior by a really great candidate.
That means more time with Jesus, so really, this is a good thing! Wow- I feel better already.
I will vote, because to me not voting wouldn't be a protest; it would just be apathy. This year holds deep challenges for me, but I will not relinquish that privilege and responsibility ever.
Voting is a right bought and paid for with the blood of our military men and women. There are many excellent candidates down ticket as well, and they probably affect my everyday life more than national leaders. Even if I couldn't vote for president, I need to still vote for my other representatives. (But I am voting for president!)
Regardless of the outcome of the election, I am obligated to pray. "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." (1 Timothy 2:2 ESV)
Once again- the current situation is a good thing. I am praying now, I will pray the day of the election, and I will definitely pray AFTER the election. This is the easiest time in my life to "pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Bad Candidates + Dire Circumstances = Lots of Time With Jesus!
I will trust God with my future, my family's future, and the future of our country.
I might say that confidently, but honestly, for me the process of trusting God looks a lot like:
-speak confidently about God being in control
-wonder if Jesus is coming back soon
-look into immigration to Costa Rica
-proclaim my complete trust in the Lord
-post an inspiring quote on Facebook
-post a doom and gloom news article on Facebook
-wonder about how hard it would be to live off the grid in the mountains of Montana
-pray and ask God to give me faith
-encourage someone on the phone
-get worried again
-pray some more
My goal is to end each day on a trust point of this cycle. If I go to bed worrying or contemplating immigration, it really messes with my dreams. I love Psalm 56:3, because it starts with "when I am afraid." Yep, I might start with fear, but when I recognize that fear, I need to stop and CHOOSE to trust God.
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4 ESV)
This kind of hope is not me hoping someone will pop out from behind a curtain and yell, "BACKSIES!" If that happened, we could all go back to the primaries, find good, honest, non-criminal, and non-crazy candidates, choose two reasonable people......
But that is not hope. That is fantasy. While I enjoy imagining what would happen if that was an actual possibility, hope means something substantially different.
Dictionary.com defines hopes as, "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best."
That may be a definition of earthly hope, but not of eternal hope. Right now, I don't feel I will get what I want and I really don't believe events will turn out well. So how can I still have hope?
Because hope is confidence in God's almighty hand, working His eternal plan, no matter which flawed human being sits in the White House. This hope rests in God, not our present circumstances.
My Heavenly Father is not limited by the President of the United States. Regardless of the outcome of November 8th, God isn't moving from His throne, and THAT seat of Government is where I am resting my hope.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24 NASB)
6. Get to work
The outcome of an election does not change my divine assignments, which run the gamut from making dinner, to writing, to praying, to homeschooling, to taking a meal to a friend, to cleaning the bathroom, to getting up another day to whatever He has for me. It is ALL holy and it needs to be done, regardless of who sits in the White House.
Someday, there WILL be a perfect government. Justice, honor, goodness, and truth will rule. But UNTIL THAT DAY the church needs to be the church in the midst of whatever government it finds itself. We must take care of our families, love our communities, care for widows and orphans, tend to the broken-hearted, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
John Eliot, a Puritan in colonial Massachusetts, stated, "Heaven is found by doing what needs to be done well and with a clear conscience. If I knew I were to be called to heaven tomorrow, I would do exactly what I'm doing today." What was he doing when he declared this? Pulling weeds in his garden. Like Mr. Eliot, my job consists of whatever is in front of me.
The most valuable investment I can make in my country is to faithfully fulfill, with integrity, the jobs God assigns me, no matter how mundane. So until Jesus comes back or I die, I will, through the power of the Spirit, cheer up and get busy, while I trust and hope in my Lord's perfect control of all that happens.
Pardon me, but I need to go pray, vote, and then pull some weeds.