Last night, I lay in my bed with the television turned off. I had watched the numbers make their slow and determined prediction. I tweeted and retweeted. I shook my head in dismay. I watched one man concede while another celebrated. I felt the weight of reality set in as I realized my convictions may have been totally wrong. I repented and asked God to speak to my troubled heart. And He gently lifted my head toward heaven and politely adjusted my perspective.
As Jesus sat in the Garden knowing the time of his affliction loomed just beyond the trees, He prayed to His Father in heaven. “Father, if it is Your will, let this cup pass from me. Not as I will, but Your will be done.”
His disciples were ready to fight and defend. Peter cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest his leader, his friend, his Messiah. Jesus calmly stopped Peter’s assault and offered himself to His accusers. He had to lay down His life that others would gain true life. Jesus understood the bigger picture. He understood His sacrifice would cost Him greatly and disappoint those who were close to His heart. He knew the toll His death would take and He knew what the scoffers would say. He knew. He surrendered anyway.
As He stood before the Sanhedrin and heard the lies of the Pharisees He has once called out in the street. He made no argument. He did not protest. They spit upon Him, decried and denied Him. They accused Him of blasphemy and cursed Him to His face. Still He did not respond. He made not complaint.
As He stood before Pilate and the crowds cried out against Him. He defended Himself not, He simply acknowledged the sovereignty and authority of His Father in heaven. He did not protest, or fight. He simply turned His heart to God and committed to do His will no matter what it cost.
Jesus bowed out gracefully.
He went quietly. As His disciples and family watched from the crowd, they must have surely felt defeated, hopeless, disappointment. They cried out. They grieved. They still longed for their Messiah and freedom. Finally, after their beloved leader had given up His last breath, they hid themselves away and prayed.
I am sure they could not believe what had happened. I am sure they felt all had been lost. I am sure that they believed they had given themselves over to something futile. I am sure they doubted, questioned and felt like giving up.
How could their God allow His Son, His promised Messiah, to go to the cross and be crucified a common criminal?
How could God allow this to happen? They could not have know as they asked those questions that the human heart asks in times of dismay, disappointment and despair. They could not have known that a more glorious outcome awaited. An outcome more powerful, more life-changing and more miraculous waited just beyond the horizon.
Today, I only know in part. Someday I will know in full.
My eyes turn to God, to my Lord Jesus, who is faithful and who promises that all things indeed work for our good and His glory. My heart is inclined to listen to those I disagree with and to pray diligently for this nation I love and the man who has been elected to a second term as our president-for he is our president.
When Jesus rose again, He did not return to the Sanhedrin and lambaste the Pharisees for attacking Him. He did not gloat or proudly boast His right. He went quietly about encouraging His supporters and appearing among the people. He encouraged His supporters to reach out to those who had called for His death and teach them His Words. He called on those close to Him to take care of the people around them. To love them, and be known by their love. He called on them to bring about the compelling Gospel regardless of their present circumstances, disappointments, victories and temporary opportunities. He did not say – BOAST. He said, make disciples. He did not say –GLOAT. He said, share. He did not say – TOLERATE. He said, transform. He did not say – CONFORM. He said, repent. He did not say that any man apart from Himself would provide the answers to the human condition. May I suggest to those who believe “their man” is now in office that he, too, is not the solution to what ails this country?
No matter who is elected president, the plight of this nation will remain much the same. I knew that before I voted. I voted my conscience and my convictions. I used my influence as best I knew to encourage others in seeking God’s heart on the matter and voting their own convictions. I repented of my arrogance the last thirty or so years. I repented of trusting the news reports more than I trust my God. I repented and took responsibility for the choices I have been afforded in this life. I recognized that my reaction to these circumstances may indeed be a part of the problem and I opened my heart to be teachable. And more than all of that I have prayed.
This morning I know little more than my God is faithful, His Word is true and His mercy and love endure forever. I long to be found faithful and to be be known for His love. I long to see this nation I call home thriving, prosperous and unified again. I long to know I live in One Nation Under God again. The last 30 years the people of this nation and its leaders have moved this country far from God’s heart. Say what you will about the election, the President, the state of our Union… We are not blessed here. We are not prospering. We are not thriving. We are perishing. To those of you who are celebrating this morning… Who has really won here?
Our Sad Reality
The core numbers of this nation no longer identify themselves with a biblical God. Many claim no affiliation to God at all. Our nation is bankrupt and its leaders seem little concerned with the fact that our enemies own our debt. The institutions God established like marriage between a man and a woman, the government, the family, and the church have been demoralized and dismantled. Redefined.
Dignity, honor and truth hold less sway. Our choices take us further and further from the God we profess to love and serve. We care little for our fellow man and more for our own opinion. I mean in all seriousness, a few months ago four men died at the hands of merciless attackers and rather than provide answers and seek resolution on the matter both candidates of this political season put their political agenda and personal campaign ahead of giving the grieving families closure and the American people an honest appraisal of what truly happened that day in September. Both candidates walked away from those men who represented our country and risked their lives to advance the cause of freedom around the world.
It is time to stop arguing about who the “right man” for the job is at the top post of our elected officials. It is time to stop demanding justice when we will not act justly among ourselves. It is time to stop beating our chests in pride, and time to start rending our garments in mourning the state of this nation. It is time for change – not the temporary change that comes with time and seasons, but the kind of permanent change that occurs when one turns their hearts to God and looks to Him for our absolution. He alone is our help, our refuge and our comfort. He alone is mighty to save and He will prevail. He will.
Four years ago, my God interrupted my outcry and asked me in essence… “What if you are wrong?”
I had to choose to repent. I have to choose to repent everyday. I must allow God to adjust my perspective, convict my human heart that is deceitful above all things. And, I must act responsibly and with honor, dignity and respect for my fellow man. Loving them while not compromising the biblical principles and values I hold so dear. Loving God and loving others… How do I continue on in His love when my heart grieves for what seems inevitable? That is the question I grapple with this morning. And, God is providing the answers. I have much to evaluate. I asked God for peace last night, and He has provided it in my heart.
Today, I pray that the Lord would bless our President, and keep him, make His face shine upon him and grant him peace. That the Lord would draw him close to His heart and that he would govern with wisdom, diligence and honor the sacred trust that he has been given for the next four years. I ask all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.