Well it’s over, at least the bit about selecting the next leader of the free world. Regardless of the outcome I’ve wondered how free that world would truly be for all people regardless of age (everyone from the womb to the tomb), ethnicity, education, gender, you name it. I can’t say I’m all that surprised at the outcome. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised had Secretary Clinton won the day. The reason for this is simple: people often receive the leaders they deserve. In his pre-election night editorial, Michael Brendan Dougherty stated,
I look at the headlines, our candidates, our political parties, our civic life, and mostly what occurs to me is that God has given us over to ourselves in this election, and he lets us make fools of ourselves with it.
The idea is not a new one, nor is it without biblical precedent. Just look at the nation of ancient Israel. During the period of the judges, the nation as a whole continued to progressively get worse and worse. There didn’t appear to be any sin the people hadn’t considered giving themselves over to. And the judges the Lord graciously used to deliver his wayward people, likewise got progressively worse. In the book of Judges six judges in particular are given extended treatment. The earliest of these judges were, from all accounts, faithful to the Lord during their time as judge (Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah). However, the moral compass of the last three judges (Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson) in the end is so screwed up one can’t tell north from south or east from west. And if you don’t recall how bad things had actually become in Israel, I encourage you to go back and read Judges 17–21.
During this election cycle I’ve also been reminded that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is beholden to no one but King Jesus. Our allegiance is not to a particular political party. Nor should we concern ourselves with so aligning with a particular party, ideology, or candidate that our hopes for a better future are bound up with it or them. The victory for a particular candidate is not how the church becomes victorious. It never has been. For the church, the only hope we have in this world and the next for lasting victory is found in a Savior who was victorious only through enduring the cross. And the same is the case for those who follow Jesus. Victory, the kind the Bible speaks of, is something that comes through suffering. The victory Jesus has won is one in which the church must continue to testify to and live in light of if it too is to experience the victory that Jesus has secured. As the last book of the Bible states, “They [the church] has triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev 12:11).
Living in a democratic republic affords its citizens the opportunity to vote for its leaders. I’m thankful for this privilege and believe it is something worth fighting for. That being said, as a member of the body of Christ, the citizenship I am most thankful for, the one that will last into eternity, is my citizenship in God’s kingdom. Russell Moore’s post-election day post sums up my thoughts on this:
Our [the church’s] rallying cry is not “Hail to the Chief” but “Jesus is Lord.” Perhaps this electoral shakeup means that President Trump will lead America to be great again. I hope so. But regardless, whatever happens to America, we must seek the Kingdom first again.
While I cannot be sure that in this nation’s history it has every been truly great for all of its citizens, I generally affirm Dr. Moore’s thoughts. The church in the States needs to focus its attention on seeking God’s kingdom. If the energy, time, and money used by Christians in this and previous election cycles were devoted to the things of the Kingdom, they may have begun to see real and lasting change in their local communities and around the world. Things may not have been any different, but who knows what the Lord might have done had his people (the church) dedicated themselves to pursuing his agenda, which is good for all people, rather than the agenda of a politician, which is good for their voting bloc (rarely) and good for them (always).