I remember that day very clearly. My mother was in tears, fearful for the future of our country, convinced we were heading into nuclear war with the USSR because ‘that man’ had just been elected President of the United States.
The date was November, 1980. ‘That Man’ was Ronald Reagan, and I had voted for him–my first election.
I thought my mom was completely overreacting, but that’s exactly the message that had been promoted in the media leading up to this election night.
Of course, history shows that we did not go to nuclear war, but we did have some very tough negotiations with the USSR…until they dissolved and ‘America won the cold war’.
Fast forward almost 40 years (please, no comments about my age).
‘This man’ Donald Trump, has been elected and sworn in and many people seem to think that our future, as a nation, is just about toast! We’re finished, if you read some opinions. I keep waiting for the raw emotion to die down, but it’s been pretty consistent since November, and now, post-inauguration, it seems still to be running pretty ‘hot’.
Now, I have to say: I have my own concerns about President Trump, and I’m not a huge fan. I certainly think we need to pray for him and his advisors, that they’d humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face in their leading.
But…with all due respect to my Democratic friends, I want to let you in on a little secret:
I felt almost the same way you do 8 years ago, after the election of President Barack Obama.
I could not watch the celebrations, I could not watch the ‘Inauguration Ball’, concerts, etc. I could barely listen to the news because most of them seemed to be so obviously tripping over themselves in praise. President Obama would quickly remind his political opponents that ‘elections have consequences’ and that ‘he won’. Honestly, from my perspective, I thought our country was toast.
I know, I know…many of you right now are scoffing at the mere suggestion that President Obama and President Trump are similar. One is full of class, and the other isn’t. One is respectful and the other isn’t, etc.
I’m just going to put this out here: I think they are each arrogant, boastful, narcissistic, petulant, and each one of them treats political opponents disrespectfully and vindictively. Now, at some other time, we can get together over a cup of coffee and talk about all of the reasons I disagreed with President Obama’s policies, etc…but that is for another time.
I simply wanted to say–as sincerely as possible–I understand your feelings. I get it.
However, I’d also like to encourage you: Take a break, take a breath and think about this: Policies in Washington (and Lansing) are important, but what’s Much More Important is what YOU (and I) choose to do in our daily lives.
You and I have the choice to pour ourselves into our communities, serve in our schools, love our families, and cultivate a generous, caring lifestyle. I am trying to continue learning to do this, more every day. I fall short, but I realize that I have a daily chance to live of life of IMPACT in this world…and you do too!
The most important thing I’d like to say to you, however, is this:
This last 8 years…and the last several months…has challenged me to clarify something within myself, and that is this:
Where is my hope?
I’ve realized that I have, over the years, been guilty of buying into the idea that America’s best hope is ‘my’ Presidential candidate, and that the World’s best hope is America. I’ve bought the idea that political victory for ‘my guy’ is the most important thing. I haven’t even been aware of how much I’d bought into this, but this past election showed me more than ever before.
If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I believed these two candidates were DEEPLY flawed this year. I still do. What that reminds me of, however, is this: My hope…and the hope of my family, my church, my country and this world… is NOT in President Trump, any more than it was in President Obama…or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush, or even Reagan. Our Hope–our real, genuine Hope for the future–only lies in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I know…some of you who’ve stayed are tempted to click out right now–‘There he goes with his faith stuff’. Yup, I freely admit it: My faith is my core, and it colors every thing I do. I certainly colors how I view politics and politicians. One thing that has become more clear in this election cycle is that Politicians–whichever party they’re from–are not our ‘saviors’. There is only one of those, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
I want to encourage you–as one American to another, one man, one father, one guy who’s trying to live his life the best way he knows to another–take some time…today…to consider where YOU are putting your hope.
Mine is not in a politician, a policy, or even a country. My hope is in the Lord Jesus, our eternal King…
“our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21).
Ultimately, no matter who is elected in this country, and no matter what policies they put out, this life is temporary. Certainly, these are important things…but ETERNITY is much more important! If we’re going to spend time and energy thinking about anything, I want to encourage you: Let it be eternity! Let it be Jesus!
Let’s pray for our Leaders…and let’s pray for each other…today!
Love to all,