November 2016

As I write this we are six days away from our national election day.  It has been a hard season running up to this day.  It has been a season of animosity and rancor, accusation and counter-accusation, cynicism and disdain; mistrust and fear.  Some believe that it promises to be the most important election of their lifetime.  Others call it a nightmarish aberration and a joke.  Yet whether we breathe a sigh of relief next Wednesday or wail at an outcome that we think cannot abide, Jesus will still be Lord.

When I say this I do not mean that I believe God is somehow orchestrating the specifics of our national election by ordaining the outcome and the one elected will be God’s choice.  What I mean is that the outcome of this election will not change the truth that in Christ we are a part of reality that is far greater than the game of national and global politics.  I mean that if Jesus Christ holds all things together then we will still be in his embrace.

It’s not that the outcome of the election doesn’t matter for us.  By this confession of faith I am not somehow suggesting that it is better for Christians to withdraw from the secular world and think only about the promise of heaven and a life beyond this life.  I am saying that this, or for that matter, any, election does not have the last word and that we can always set the events of our lives in this world in a context that is bigger than these events.

And this is why, irrespective of the outcome of this election, we can still live as a people of hope.  We can live in the confidence that the God who began his good work among us is still going about the business of completing it (Phil. 1:6).  We can live reflecting the gentleness that is fostered by the steadfast love of God and the assurance of God’s presence (Phil. 4:5).  What’s more, when we live in this way, we will plant seeds that are far more enduring than the political victories of the party in power.

Psalm 33 has been my companion in these last days before our election.  At the beginning of the psalm we are called to worship the God who loves righteousness and justice and has filled the world he created with steadfast love.  At the end of the psalm we are admonished to wait for the Lord and invited to pray: “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”  And sandwiched between these two admonitions is a reminder to set our lives in this world in that bigger context of God’s kingdom: “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing, he frustrates the plans of the peoples” and “A King is not saved by his great army … a war horse is a vain hope for victory.”

At times it feels like we live among forces that seem more powerful and enduring than the reign of God.  We don’t.  The “game of thrones” being played out in our world will affect history as we write it, but it cannot alter the intentions of God.  Nor should it alter our resolve to live in light of those intentions.  For if nothing can separate us from the love of God, then nothing can thwart our resolve to reflect this truth and our choice to confidently sow the seeds of hope in our world.

Dave Rohrer, 11/2/16