What If I Don’t Know What’s Best For America?
The thought occurred to me as I was praying for the upcoming election and the direction of our great country. Specifically, I was praying, “God, may your kingdom come and your will be done in America. May you, Lord, allow the man or woman that you want, to be elected to each and every office that’s up for grabs both local and federally.” It hit me, in that moment, “God knows what’s best, and his will is always done.” And then a second thought occurred to me, “what if I don’t even know what’s best for America?”
There’s a verse that I’ve been clinging to for the past several years. It’s become very dear to me because I’ve felt like my life has been a little out-of-control. Over the past seven years, I’ve bounced between three jobs; started seminary; had three kids (well my wife did); moved across the country and back; bought land and built a house; written two books; and opened a hotel with my dad. Seriously, my life has been out-of-control. Yet I’ve found comfort in this little verse that, well, read it first and you may see why without me having to explain it.
“A man plan’s his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
I’ve worked so hard to plan my way, and try to figure things out. I’ve made decisions and attempted different things. I’ve done all I could to discover what I’m supposed to do with my life and for my family. I can look back and see where some of those decisions have been disastrous, and some have been right on the money—literally, I made a few bucks because of some of my decisions (and lost some on a few others). Yet it is God who has been directing my steps. As I look back over my life thus far, I can see God’s direction and guidance. Soooo many things have happened that I could not have planned on my own. There have been several times where God has literally provided miraculously for us. I wish I had another 500 words in this post just to tell you all of the ways God has directed our steps, but I will have to save that for another day. For now, you’ll have to trust me. Actually you wont. I bet you can look at your own life and see how God has led you from this place to that place; or this decision to that decision. He has the habit of doing that.
So why, I ask myself, do I get so anxious—an emotional state that is rejected by Jesus (Matthew 6:25-34)—about the election? Why do I worry about who will be elected and in which direction our country will turn? Why am I fearful about the culture in which my children will grow up? Does God not have any control over American elections? Do American politics fall outside of his scope of power and influence? Can someone be elected outside of his will? What about in other countries where dictators or communists are in power? Did those nations discover a way to find leaders that God did not want in power?
Consider Daniel 2:21:
“He removes kings and establishes kings.” (NIV)
Or what about Romans 13:1:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV)
I have a challenge for us—you and I should take a few minutes this week and look through the Scriptures for any passages that suggests God put a ruler—even an evil ruler—in power, for his purposes. I bet if we look through the Old Testament, especially the prophets, I bet we will see God raise up leaders—even evil, pagan leaders—to do his work. And if that’s the case—if God can use even an evil pagan to lead a nation—don’t you think he can use anyone?
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know who is going to be elected. I think I know for whom I will vote, but you don’t need to know what I’m thinking in that regard. I’ve spent time praying about it, and I feel relatively comfortable that God will lead me through the ballot process. But at the end of the day—or just the end of this blog—I hope you can see that it really doesn’t matter who is elected. Even if the person we are most against gets into office, it doesn’t change the fact that God is fully in control—that he establishes our steps, and the authorities that govern us. Even in an election where we lose (or appear to lose)—God is still just as much in control, and his will is still accomplished.
So I guess we “don’t have to be anxious for anything, but in every situation (including an election), by prayer and thanksgiving (ouch!), present our requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7