On Wednesday, November 9th, we will wake up to a new president. Lord, have mercy. However the chips fall, the next four years will encompass a reality most of us probably would not have chosen. It’s easy to feel helpless in light of the future, but there’s still much that we can, and should, do.
- We can pray. I’ll be honest-I put off voting because I didn’t want to vote for either major party candidate. I have serious issues with both of them. But here’s what I know about both of them-God loves them, and he can redeem them. To say otherwise is to deny his power. Their souls are more important to Him than anything else about them, and they desperately need our prayers. So we can pray for our new president. We can pray for wisdom, guidance, humility, wise counsel, strength, and peace. We can pray for a heart responsive to His Spirit.
- We can respect our leader. Like I said, not a fan of either candidate, but I also recognize that being the president of the United States has to be the toughest job in the whole world. God asks us to respect everyone, especially our leaders (1 Peter 2:17), and that includes people we disagree with. We are called to love even our enemies, and love includes speaking well. So we can speak with the same respect and grace about the president as we would if that person were with us face to face, because it glorifies God.
- We can love our neighbors. This election cycle has caused so much division. Shame and vilification have happened left and right, even between people who claim to care for each other. I have hovered over the “hide this person’s posts” button on Facebook more than once. But at the end of the day, our call to love is greater than anything. So we can keep moving toward people who have offended us and see differently than we do, especially when they are fellow believers. Christ declared that the world would know we are Christians by our love. We can prove that true.
- We can be like Christ to the world. I’ve been immersed in the gospels lately, and what strikes me about Jesus’ interactions with this world is that non-religious people really liked him. And he really liked them. He went to where they were. He ate with them, accepted them, and then called them to something greater. His lead foot was love. We as the church have focused so much energy on changing laws instead of changing hearts. We can choose instead to imitate Christ. We can move toward people with grace, invite them to the one who loves them more than life, and trust him to change them in a way no law ever could.
- We can trust God. He never wrings his hands during election time, hoping we’ll choose the right leader. He uses all of this. He doesn’t need America to be a “Christian” nation for Him to work. In fact, the church is growing the most in places where the government doesn’t recognize religious rights at all. We can live not by fear but by faith and trust that his power and his Spirit are indomitable. We can rest in hope that whichever way this goes, His purpose for our world will continue.
This is an opportunity for us to respond differently than the world. And isn’t that what we are called to do? We can glorify God, love Him, and love others regardless of the outcome of this election. In fact, there may never have been a more opportune time for us to live this way. Let’s make the most of it.