Today is Election Day where we vote for our choice of presidential candidate and for those to fill the various seats of local, state and national government.
Yesterday, city workers boarded-up windows of storefronts and businesses in downtown Indy, and other cities have chosen to do the same. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the old saying goes.
In the turmoil of the unknown, many people brace for a tsunami of anger, while others expect a trickle of disappointment. With all the fearmongering escalating in our media, I think it behooves us to take a breath and calmly consider three truths upon which we stand.
1. God is sovereign. Whether our current circumstances are God’s prescriptive or permissive will, God is on the throne, and He will achieve His higher purposes. We trust in Him, and we can sleep well at night, because He’s Ruler over all. Pope John XXIII is quoted as saying, “Jesus, this is your church. I’m going to bed.” Getting a good night’s rest doesn’t mean we sit by idly while we watch God’s plan unfold. It actually emboldens us to participate in God’s mission on earth to bring about His reign of love and righteousness. “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21, ESV).
2. Pockets of incivility do not define a civil nation. When Laura and I voted this past Saturday, I was amazed at how civil, gracious and kind the hundreds of people were who stood patiently in those laboriously long lines. I’m sure there have been a handful of people out of millions who chose to leave their civility at home and brought their worst attitude and vitriol with them to the voting booth. But our experience was that people were genuinely grateful for the privilege of voting, and they encouraged others who had to wait so long before casting their ballot. Don’t be fooled. Our nation is stronger than the fissures that threaten to divide us.
3. The Church of Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. Of course, Jesus is the Hope of the world, but He brings that hope through real people like you and me. His is a “fleshly plan,” not a theoretical conjecture that somehow people’s lives are changed by chance. Jesus left His mission in the hands of fishermen, a tax collector, a political zealot, a former prostitute, and many others who would go unnoticed in any nomination for hero-of-the-year award. This should bolster our faith, because Jesus has returned through His Spirit (John 14:18) to empower us to be His change agents for the world.
So, what do we do? We pray. We serve. We engage. The late Chuck Colson quoted Augustine as saying, “We are to be the best of citizens, because we do out of love for God what others do only because they’re required to” (My Final Word, 87). Now, perhaps more than any time in recent history, it’s time for us to go be the Church.