Purpose and Politics


Many know I’m not crazy about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. During the campaign season, my mantra was, “I’m afraid it’ll come down to Trump and Clinton.” See kids, nightmares can come true. Just keep believing 😉

Now that we’re past all hope of not electing Trump or Clinton, I pray for Trump and our government.   To quote the hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’s name.” America is a “sweet frame.”   But it isn’t God’s kingdom. As great as the US of A is it can’t secure our deepest hopes.

This brings me to today’s thought: The deeper purpose of elections.

I meet with a group of guys each week to study the Bible. For a small group, our views on theology and socio-political issues are surprisingly diverse. When Obama defeated Romney in 2011, one of our members was devastated. Romney’s loss shook his theology, not just his politics. He spent the next couple years seeking the Lord, re-examining his beliefs, scouring the Bible, and consuming theological books. Through this upheaval, his views of God’s character, the cross, and even eschatology transformed. Today, he is much more secure in God’s love. He looks to the future with optimism instead of anxiety. His peace and stability in Christ are stronger.   Obama couldn’t deliver that level of hope and change.

Fast forward to 2015’s election. Another member of our group was a strong Bernie Sanders supporter. When Bernie bowed out of the race, my friend and his wife decided to support Clinton. And support they did: with t-shirts, signs in the yard, the whole nine yards.

Then something happened: The Clinton sign in their yard was vandalized. My friend wanted to get a bigger sign. That would show the vandal a thing or two. But the Lord struck his heart and his wife’s. Why were they so invested in a human leader? Why would they sport t-shirts and signs for Clinton but not Christ? The Lord exposed their misplaced loyalty. Instead of a Clinton sign, they put up a sign with scriptures about reconciliation and loving enemies.

When Clinton lost, the Lord’s work continued. Jesus enlarged their trust in Him, not the prevailing political party. Their deepest security no longer depends on the direction of the country. On Christ, the Solid Rock, they stand.

It is natural for people to get wrapped up in politics. We (mis)place so much of our imagined fortunes in the hands of leaders. But God works everything together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).   We often hear this verse saying that God works everything together the way we expect or for our benefit. But it doesn’t say that. It says God works everything together for *good*. The next verse defines that good: “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29).

We get so invested in the outcomes of elections, among other things. We pray and hope and even identify our desired outcome with God’s purpose. But God’s deepest purpose isn’t about who is president. He wants to conform us to the image of His Son. Everything—even elections—are toward that purpose. And when we share His eternal, spiritual focus, everything in our life becomes purposeful. (Including a Trump presidency!)

God will shake everything that can be shaken so that what can’t be shaken—Christ in us—will remain (Heb. 12:27-29). The more we anchor in Him, the less shaken we will be, no matter who’s in charge.

So if you felt devastated by this or any other election, do what my friends did: Seek the Lord.   Know Him more deeply. His image trumps political idolatry (Col. 1:15).   He is able to do above and beyond what we ask or think according to His power that works *in us*! (Eph. 3:20).

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