Election season is always at least moderately uncomfortable and contentious in the very best of times.
The first presidential election I can recall was between then Vice President George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. I was in second grade at the time. We held a mock election in our class. Leading up to the election, my classmates and I were asked to read some information about each candidate and were invited to share which candidate we were voting for and why.
I don’t remember what was read or said, but I remember feeling a great deal of fear and consternation about that election. I remember thinking, “If _______ wins the election, the world will end.”
I can’t tell you how such a negative and hopeless thought entered my young mind. My mother and father weren’t politically engaged, though I do remember one voting Republican and the other voting Democrat and them joking that their votes canceled one another out. Clearly, somewhere along the way, I heard someone say something and it stuck with me.
Three decades, four presidents and nine elections later, that same apocalyptic messaging continues to permeate a lion’s share of our political discourse. Christian terminology is often co-opted,and corrupted with the preferred candidate being hailed as a savior of the free world and the opposition candidate derided as a devil (and most likely the Antichrist).
If all of those years and all of those elections have taught me anything, it is this: Someone will be voted into office as the president of these United States of America, and the morning following the event, the sun will rise again.
And regardless of who is sworn into office Jan. 20, 2021, the world will continue to spin and life will go on, just as it has following every previous election. It turns out the true power in this world doesn’t sit in the Oval Office. It sits at the right hand of the father in heaven (Hebrews 1:3).
Please don’t misunderstand me. In no way do I intend to trivialize the importance of our elections. I believe it matters greatly and that we as citizens of this great nation (and particularly as followers of Jesus Christ) have a responsibility to carefully and thoroughly consider those put forth for political office and to exercise our right to vote.
I do not, however, believe either party has a monopoly on good or evil. I believe both do their fair share to demonstrate both, as do we all as humans.
Whichever candidates and/or parties we support, they are a poor place to put our faith. As the Psalmist notes, “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord, our God."
Make no mistake David is making a political statement here. He recognizes the reality of military and political power but reminds the reader that true, decisive victory and authority rests in the hands of almighty God.
I would also argue his reference to God’s anointed, while accurately referring to David himself, more appropriately looks forward to Jesus, the promised savior and king. Jesus is, after all, the one who brings the promise of peace on earth and joy to the world. He is the one to whom “every knee will bow” and his name is the one “every tongue will confess” as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
I understand the pressure and tension many of us feel during election season. I would like to suggest, however, that our faith in our chosen candidate and our fears concerning the opposition are often overblown.
hey are neither the savior nor the devil. They are just humans like you and me trying to do what they believe is best. There is but one savior, and his name is Jesus. As it says in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
My dear friends, may we not lose sight of the true and rightful object of our faith and the rightful ruler of our hearts. May we speak his name with the same passion and persistence that we do our political candidates.
Only through his power and presence will true and lasting change be brought about in our world. And regardless of who sits in the White House, Christ will still be seated on his throne.
The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].