My Election Hope
One of my dearest friends texted last night saying how frustrated she has become with all the political posts on Facebook. I can’t say I disagree with her. This presidential election is bizarre and, frankly, depressing. I asked my mom a few weeks ago if she remembered a presidential election with two such awful choices. Sometimes it’s easy for me to think that situation “x” must be the worst any generation has faced. But, she actually answered in the negative. It’s the worst she can remember.
Amidst the mud slinging and disgustingly awful revelations of each candidate’s past, I can get overwhelmed. Where is God in all of this? SURELY neither of these individuals is really who He wants to lead our nation. Right? Will our nation fall apart under their leadership? What will my children have to face as they grow up? Of course, as a Christian, I know that I should trust in the Lord’s sovereignty and love for us, but it’s hard at times.
Then I read this passage of Scripture that gave me hope.
This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:1-6)
This is the note my Bible has for verses 1-7, “Through Cyrus God will demonstrate his own sovereignty over everything.” If we truly believe God is sovereign, then we have to also believe that God uses whomever He pleases. Isaiah writes that the Lord both names and equips Cyrus though Cyrus does not know God. From the little I know about the Persians, Cyrus was no bastion off righteousness, but God still established his path. God doesn’t govern the affairs of just righteous people. He uses even those who will not acknowledge Him to accomplish His purposes.
Despite some news reports, both main presidential candidates give no outward indication of saving faith. I want to mourn the fact that the candidate I fell in love with (politically) didn’t get the nomination, but I need to move past that and trust. Trust that God is orchestrating the events of even this chaotic and, as some have described it, surreal presidential election.
In Ezra, we see God using Cyrus to accomplish the rebuilding of His Temple. Ezra 1:1 says, “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing.” Did you catch that? The LORD stirred up the heart of Cyrus. He’s in control. Once again, the LORD is in control. So, take heart all you who are concerned about our nation. The Lord uses whomever He desires – the righteous and the unrighteous.
And what are we to do? Something that I desperately need to do more of – pray. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get involved in politics or influence our society. But, prayer should be our first response. Oh that I would take prayer more seriously. I’m reminded of Nehemiah who sat down and wept and mourned and fasted and prayed for days after hearing the report of his beloved Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 1:4) Then he pleaded with the Lord before taking his request before the great king of the land. I don’t think this was one of those light-hearted prayers in which Nehemiah thought he would receive the answer he thought was best in the next few minutes. He fasted for days. Nehemiah 2 tells us that the king did grant Nehemiah’s request, but it was because the good hand of God was upon him. It wasn’t necessarily his winsome words.
Undoubtedly, I’m going to continue to be disgusted by the presidential race. But, I am determined to not lose hope. My gracious God is still in control. May my heart sing, “The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice!” (Psalm 97:1b) I am so thankful that elected leaders do not limit the Lord’s power.