Candidates, the Election, and God

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Candidates, the Election, and God

It is apparent that next Tuesday, someone is going to be elected President of the United States whether or not we consider the candidates we have to choose from are stellar, criminal, deplorable or insane. Aside from a massive vote by the electorate for a third party candidate, most likely the Republican or Democrat Party candidate will be the national choice.

I have many friends on both sides of the political divide and their posts have been either incredibly interesting or incredibly absurd. I also have many friends who continue to be in agony because they cannot decide between the two major party candidates. They feel both major candidates are unfit, but are not interested in voting for Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party), who are the only other candidates who will be on the ballots of all 50 states.

Here it is. Either you do not vote at all, or write in a candidate you wish had been nominated, or you go with one of the majority party candidates. When the dust settles on November 8, someone will be the President of the United States.

I think all of us agree that this has been an astounding election year. Crazy revelations and deep personality flaws have been more in focus in most news reports than the policy positions of the candidates. We hear of people who ‘say’ that they will move out of the country if the person they hate is elected. Frankly, I think we deserve better candidates. But these are what we have, so we must make the best of it.

Here are two things we who are Christ followers need to keep in mind. The first is that we, the people of the United States, no matter what our life condition, education, background, beliefs and family origin are citizens. We all have the right to vote. The palpable agitation by citizens having a choice of more than one candidate has been a notable aspect of all elections going back to the 1800 context between Adams and Jefferson. Name calling and scorn for the ‘other’ candidate is as American as apple pie, Disney World and Superman. Except for when Monroe ran unopposed in 1820 (called the ‘Era of Good Feelings,’ whatever that meant), elections have always brought out the best and worst of Americans. This one will be no exception.

The second thing is that God reigns. We belong to Him and His kingdom first and foremost. While we have the privilege to live in the United States, Peter reminds us that we are ‘sojourners and exiles.’ This expression is drawn from the Old Testament, reminding us that we belong to a different culture where God sits on the throne. America is just a stopping over place, not our permanent home.

Also, this place where we are stopping over is an active war zone. Like it or not, there is an enemy at work to bring destruction and despair upon our world. We can try to maneuver socially, educationally economically or even politically to thwart his work, but until we come to the last day—which is called the Day of the Lord—and God renews everything from the sunrise to the sunset, we will find that Satan, as always, is a master of manipulation. He will find ways to upend our best efforts to make a permanent place of peace in this world.

However, this is not reason for despair. God has not promised to take us out of the world and the troubles that come from spiritual warfare. But He has already overcome the world. This fact is our reason to ask for wisdom from Him. How should we then live? How should we vote as citizens living in a battle zone? What is pleasing to you, Father?

Listen to what He says. Then, having asked and received, go with a good conscience and vote.

Steve Smith

 


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