Elections are over. As a country we have selected a President, Senators, Representatives, and Governors. Now, the ugly aftermath of reactions is unfolding right before our very eyes… I, for one, have been on a complete roller coaster of emotions throughout the past few months, weeks, and days due to the elections. In the final days leading up to Tuesday, I was extremely anxious. Today, that anxiousness has gone, and in its place is an unlikely mixture of peace and the burning desire to do something. It seems that these days, it is rare to experience moments when you REALLY feel God speaking. Directly, loudly, over all of the noise of this world, right to the heart. At least, it is rare for me. In the past two days, I have felt God speaking to me, practically grabbing me by my shoulders and shaking me. Hence, this post.
Politics sure seem to have a way of bringing the ugly parts of our hearts to the surface… present company included. I have been torn between having great peace in the knowledge that God has a plan and His will be done, and really wanting my own plan to happen. I have been guilty of praying for His peace, His direction, and His work in the lives of the candidates one minute and then in the next minute sharing something within social media was less than peaceful.
It’s clear that we are more divided as a country now than ever before. It has burdened my heart to see good people so divided, to see Godly people behaving so unkindly to one another simply due to differing political views. I have watched as Facebook and Twitter have become a battle ground. If you have been on Facebook or Twitter within the last 24 hours, I’m sure you have also seen the ugly nature of people’s reactions for yourself. It’s brutal, and it’s not fun to be a part of. These negative reactions are only serving to divide even further.
I have admittedly fallen prey to political postings and fueling the fire. Last night, as I checked social media frequently, I found myself getting angry and felt a knot forming in my stomach when any one of my Facebook friends or those I follow on Twitter posted something in support of a candidate I did not vote for. I went to bed last night and woke up this morning so upset with myself. God was urging me to recognize that it is okay to be passionate; but it is not okay to hold bitterness and resentment in my heart towards another person simply because their views, opinions and beliefs are different from my own.
This morning as I was trying to unravel all that God was laying on my heart, I sought His word for clarity, conviction, and understanding. That’s when He came out and smacked me with the truth, I am a part of the problem!! No longer. I’m done. I’m done creating more of a mess and failing to do what God has called me to do as a Christian.
First, He has called me to trust Him, to wait for Him, and to have faith in Him. Whether or not we can see it in this moment, God has a plan in action.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” ~ Psalm 33:20-22
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I have had to stop and ask myself, am I seeking His plan? Have I been really asking and listening to God for what He has intended in all of this political mess? Or, have I been so caught up in my own views of what should happen that I’ve missed something entirely? His timing is perfect, I just have to wait patiently, with faith, and seek Him earnestly. Today, I have great peace and great urgency. My God has a plan, He is in control, and He is still sitting on His throne. It is my turn to have faith in His great majesty and to follow His commands.
Second, God has called me to be above all of the political rhetoric, to keep my eyes on Him, and to keep doing the work he set out for us to do. All that has happened and will happen are part of His plan. I am responsible for remaining focused.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Third, God has called us to action. He has commanded that we respect, follow and submit to our leaders. It is God who has placed these individuals in positions of authority.
“For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.” ~ Colossians 1:16
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” ~ Hebrews 13:17
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except for which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” ~ Romans 13:1-2
No matter who you voted for, that last verse kind of stings huh? ;) God has commanded us to submit ourselves to the authority that HE has placed over us. Rebelling and speaking poorly about those in power is like rebelling against God’s own plan, and only brings judgment upon ourselves.
With this peace and direction God brought to my life, I now feel called to take action, my new “mission”. There is so much talk within politics about a lack of bi-partisanship and the polar divide between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. People are calling for our elected officials to work together to create progress, but here is my question: How can we expect our President and other elected officials to reach across the aisle, to work with the other party instead of against, when we won’t even accept that someone else has valid political opinions that are simply different from our own? How can we expect them to work together when we are so divided about who we support? In a time when our nation seems to be more divided than ever, I think as a Christian I have been called to help unite rather than perpetuate the divide.
So, here is my two-part mission, and my challenge to anyone reading this:
First, what if, for at the very least the next four years, we commit to praying FOR our leaders, to practicing love for our neighbors and acceptance of those that are different or think differently than us? In fact, we are called to do this:
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quite lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-3
I am making this commitment. Here and now. And I hope you will join me and help keep me accountable.
Second, it is my belief that burdened hearts should be moved to action. Our great Constitution begins with “WE the PEOPLE” not “The President” or “Congress’ or “Elected Officials”. I am committing to be more engaged in our political process. It’s so easy to say that we “hate politics” and try to avoid all things political when an election isn’t happening, but the system only works as well as its citizens do. It is my belief that we can ask God for anything at anytime, but that does not mean that we should not work for what we believe in, for what we want, as well. He sees those things. I am committing to pay closer attention to what is happening within my state and country as laws and decisions are made that affect me. Our Congressmen and women are in office to represent us, and they will intercede on our behalf when we ask them to. I will write letters and make phone calls when necessary. I have been so guilty of telling and pleading with others to do these things, without truly taking any action myself. I’m committing to change.
I’m not saying it will be an easy, overnight change. I’m not saying I won’t still be passionate about my views on politics. I’m saying that today I hope you will join me in making the commitment to try harder, to pray for our Nation and for our leaders daily, to be Christ-like to all those I interact with, and to be engaged in the political process as God has directed. I’m sure than many of you have a stronger Biblical knowledge than I do, and could cite verses that address these points even more directly than those I found. I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read these words that God pressed upon my heart today. God bless!
P.S. — If you need some guidance in formulating prayers for our leaders (like I do), check out this post and the comments over on Living Proof Ministries blog!