Disconcerted is too mild a word to describe the feeling a majority of informed Christians had the day after the 2008 Presidential election. Fears continue to revolve around social issues including abortion and homosexual unions; economic matters related to wealth redistribution and class warfare; domestic policy questions connected to religious freedom and the new definition of tolerance; foreign policy concerns linked to present war and looming potential threats to national security; the increasing marginalization of Christians and the erosion of the Christian worldview in our culture; and so much more. How should we react to these things in the coming days? What should our response be in light of a new president and a new year?
First, as those who know the One who actually raises up and removes kings, we must be thankful. We can thank God for civil rest with a clear winner in the presidential election. With the animosity some felt toward the establishment, with historical implications concerning race, and with emotions at a fevered pitch, we can thank God for a peaceful transition of power. Such a dynamic goes unnoticed by those of us who live in
Second, we have an opportunity to examine our hearts. Not only do we have a tendency to take God’s good providence for granted and fail to offer Him praise, we also have the tendency to complain when circumstances don’t go the way we would choose. Do we really believe that God causes all things to work for our good? Do we really believe God is in control? Do we really trust Him? To complain is to express dissatisfaction with God and His plan for us. At the same time for example, if we speak to our children of God’s wise governance of His universe and indeed the circumstances of our lives, we send them a contradictory message when we complain. We must bow our hearts to God in His good providence for us and convey that commitment in our every day talk before our children and others if we are to live in such a way as to witness to His faithfulness.
Third, consider the tremendous prospect of putting presidential elections in proper perspective. We must not look to
Fourth, with the realization in mind that the government is not our savior combined with the moral and spiritual slide we find ourselves in as a nation, we have a clear occasion to speak to the church and as the church. We may admonish our brothers and sisters to embrace the Savior afresh in their lives. Those believers who are fearful can still worship the Lord. They can still witness of His grace to others. None of that has changed. And, we may speak together as the church to a world in darkness. The church is in a unique position to point the way forward in Christ. We alone have real answers to real questions.
Fifth, we can rejoice that our citizenship is in heaven and that we serve a king who has established a kingdom that shall never end. When Daniel was called upon to reveal and interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he uttered the profound reality that should be the constant focus of our attention, the driving force in our lives, and the anchoring hope in the midst of all our circumstances: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Dan. 2:44).” The God of heaven set up that kingdom by sending Christ into the world.
Again, while many are disconcerted, the truth is that we as Christians “in all these things…are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).” Be encouraged. It is not despite these things but in all these things that we are more than conquerors. Thus, with a new president we have hope for a new year not because of that president, but because of the King who loved us.
Paul J. Dean