Here in the United States there’s an election happening next week.
During these times I’m very grateful God wrote to us about his sovereignty over leaders:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1
Voting is one of those confounding things in my life. The stakes, on the one hand, are very high as decisions our elected officials make have an impact on issues of direct consequence to those of us dealing with disability – healthcare, access to education, and parental rights just to name a few.
And there are the issues of literal life and death importance: abortion, infanticide, ‘mercy killing’ and ‘death with dignity.’
On the other hand, in light of eternity, every leader today will someday – soon – just be a footnote in a history book and every decision will have been changed, added to or discarded.
So, I would encourage you to pray, research and vote – and then trust God over all of it! If God gives us Wednesday morning, no matter how our candidates fared on Tuesday, he will still be sovereign over everything.
Tim Tomlinson, President of Bethlehem College and Seminary, writes a weekly prayer email and always includes a meditation, reflection or devotion. I found his thoughts this week on the election helpful (you can subscribe to the BCS prayer email here):
Next week the biennial election is upon us. As is usually the case, there is much at stake in this election at all levels of government. As I drive by the hordes of yard signs and billboards, I’m struck by several impulses. First, aside from the higher profile candidates and offices, I don’t really know much about many of the names I’ll see on the ballot on Tuesday–judges, mayors, city council members, county commissioners, etc. Second, I must fight the tendency to despair about the outcome of the election. Third, does it make any difference at all in the long run what I do? Fourth, should a Christian even be concerned about such things?
The first impulse is real, and a challenge to overcome. Even in the Internet era, finding the kind of information which might be helpful (candidates’ stand on key issues–especially local level candidates) is still difficult, as many political candidates have learned the fine art of being vague on controversial issues. However, interest group sites (National Right to Life, etc.) can often be helpful.
The second impulse is harder to overcome because its cause is my momentary lack of faith in the sovereign God of the universe. I need to remind myself regularly that Jesus Christ is the one who holds all authority in his hands.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
The third impulse is like the second, only more subtle. The answer, of course, is that it does make a difference what I do. The outcome of any given election may not be the one I hoped and voted for, but my participation may affect an election–especially at the local level.
The fourth impulse is clearer, but Christians are divided over this nonetheless. We know that the outcome of an election isn’t going to alter God’s plan for the culmination of history; that isn’t our business–it’s his alone. Instead, we are called to be faithful members, citizens, and participants in this temporary home we call life on earth. This is part of what it means to be in the world, but not of the world. We know the ultimate outcome of all things is in the Lord’s hands. In the meantime, we must be faithful witnesses–even through our voting in elections–to the glory, worth, beauty, and righteousness of Christ Jesus.
May we all put our faith in the sovereign God of the universe, and be at peace in this world.
Amen, Tim. Thanks for the good word.