I have a confession to make: I am concerned for the future of America. I can’t give details about why I am concerned without turning this into a political rant, which God has led me to believe I am not allowed to do here–he planted on my heart to use this space to spread His words of hope and encouragement, not divisiveness. But why I’m concerned is beside the point of this post anyway.
The point is that I am a hypocrite for having this concern, whether or not it’s rational, because:
- I have previously posted here about not worrying about the future, leaving it in God’s good hands, and
- I have also posted here regarding my sense that God cares more about the Kingdom of Heaven and saving souls than He does about any particular country, even the good ol’ USA
I still believe these things, very firmly. I’m just being transparent here and sharing my struggle.
I would never say that I believe God causes bad things to happen to us, but when bad things happen to because of the fallen world and the current broken state of humanity, I do believe that God will use those bad things to help others. Never waste a good crisis is what I say at work when we have an opportunity to grow because things have gotten really fouled up.
Anyway, said another way: because I have this concern for the future–a concern I’m not supposed to have–I feel that God has put it on my heart to be honest and share it here in case it may help someone out there (whether immediately or sometime in the future, I probably don’t get to know). So just like I’ve heard some of my favorite pastors say, I’m writing these things to myself as much as to anyone who might be reading this.
Let me summarize my concern in a non-political way by simply stating that there have been some very odd things going on in America since Election Day on November 3. Things that make me think of this warning from the Apostle Peter:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Or this saying from King Solomon:
Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.Proverbs 28:15 (NIV)
But upon further reflection, I realize that neither of the major political parties here in the US have a corner in the market on goodness and righteousness. And also, most Democrats and most Republicans are not evil and want what’s best for our country. We just can’t seem to agree on what those things are or how best to achieve them.
So what are we to do? It is our civic duty as followers of Christ who are also citizens of an earthly kingdom to stand up against evil and injustice of all kinds. But we can’t know the hearts of the leaders of our cities, states, and the country, so how can we tell if what they are doing is well-intended or to feed their own voracious appetite for never-enough power?
We really can’t. We can pray for that discernment, but I think it’s very difficult for us to put our own notions about a politician or political party aside, so how can I trust whether the “answer” I receive is from God or really just an apparition generated from my own frame of reference? I don’t have a good answer for that.
I imagine that followers of Christ have struggled with this very question as 13 fledgling colonies considered rebelling against the mighty British Empire over 200 years ago, or as this young country staggered toward the bitter division that turned into the Civil War. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we are at another such pivotal point in our country’s story, just musing aloud (sort of) that I am probably not the first person to have grappled with this.
Maybe this is enough for now: that we leave it in God’s hands by:
- Praying for our leaders at all levels of government, regardless of whether or not we voted for them, that they would lead in selfless and godly ways, earnestly seeking the good of others above themselves;
- Asking for God’s forgiveness for not trusting Him enough to hold our future in His hands; and
- Praying for peace, both inside ourselves (so we can quit yanking the problems out of God’s hands only moments after turning them over to him!) and across our nation (so we don’t destroy our great country from within, which is certainly a conceivable tactic of the evil one).
We can take this suggestion from Peter, earlier in his first letter:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.1 Peter 2:12-17 (NIV)
Simple, right? Just live good lives! Simple, maybe, but certainly not easy. But God never promised it would be easy, only that He would help us.
What are your thoughts? Please feel free to leave a comment, even if you disagree with me. I was told recently by someone I care for deeply and respect tremendously that I don’t like to hear differing points of view. I hope this isn’t the case, but if it is, I pray that God will forgive me and help me heal in that way–and maybe He will use one of you to help me with that! Maybe He already has.