Did you get what you wanted?
In this week’s election, I mean.
For most of us, election results are a mixed bag – we won this, we lost that. This week’s midterm proved the point: Results, predictably, show Americans still split down the middle when it comes to values, priorities and the people who push them.
“Democrats take House, breaking up GOP’s total control of government,” declared the Washington Post.
“Republicans keep control of Senate,” answered USA Today.
We do well to consider the timeless story behind those headlines, a story far larger and lasting, written in Scripture:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons,” says Daniel 2:20-21, “He removes kings and raises up kings.”
Don’t miss that last part.
The Bible relentlessly reminds us that, while mankind makes his choices, and wages his battles, and shouts his opinions, a sovereign God rules over it all. And incredibly, mysteriously, but with certainty, God carries out His purposes.
In a sense, God is the only one who got what He purposed in this week’s election, or any election. Known to God alone are the details of His using the raw material of human decision-making, however flawed, to carry out His ultimate purposes.
Christians find comfort not in the current mess that is American politics, nor hope in one side winning over another. Instead, both comfort and hope rest in the reality that our God is wise and powerful to make sense of the mess and use it for His much longer-term plan for His world.
The gospel itself declares God’s wisdom and power in harnessing even the evil work of His enemies.
Here’s the evidence: Proud, hypocritical religious people rejected Jesus. Powerful world rulers crucified Him. Yet what seemed a human tragedy was, and is, God’s gracious means of providing the forgiveness of sin that separates us from Him, and keeps us from living for His glory.
History’s striking tragedy – the crucifixion of Jesus – is in fact God’s victory over sin’s curse, generously shared with all who trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Jesus said this to the Roman governor who ultimately ordered His crucifixion: “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”
The Christian life is always lived in this tension: We’ve a need to be concerned and active in earthly affairs, yet we’re secure and comforted in God’s reign over it all.
After any election, the Christian’s long-term view always runs toward confidence and hope, because, as the book of Daniel says: “… the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone He chooses – even to the lowliest of people.”
Of greater concern for believers is not whether anyone votes Republican or Democrat, but whether they know Jesus.
God establishes governments, ultimately, so that his plan of redemption can unfold. His larger purpose is an ultimate victory for Christ and His followers.
To deny this sovereign purpose of God is, according to Scripture, foolishness defined.
“Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man (Jesus) whom He has ordained,” says Acts 17:30-31. “He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Let’s hold on loosely to either joy or frustration over election results. Let our strongest grasp be on the hope found only in Christ.
His is the ultimate victory.
Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church. He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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