Woe is us!
Well, I am sitting here about four hours from the time that the Supreme Court declared “Obamacare” to be constitutional and I’ve thus far read articles from nine Christian leaders who were already online declaring, among other things, that this decision would “do serious harm to American families” and declaring that “today is the day I will tell my grandchildren about when they ask me what happened to freedom in America.” I am fairly sure that, if I wait a bit, many more such comments will come and that keyboards are being furiously pecked even as I write this.
Frankly, I have no idea how the law will play out nor, I expect, do any of the law’s critics or supporters. As with virtually all laws, I am sure there will be unintended consequences, bizarre interpretations, confusing results and continual redefining for years to come. I am also sure that those who like the law will find as many inspiring and heartwarming stories of its goodness as those who don’t like it find horrifying and appalling stories of its failures.
As a Christian who tends slightly to the conservative side I have little expectation that this policy will do better than any other in mandating a system of fairness and justice in health care. Even as so many Christian leaders are at their keyboards expressing their horror I suspect that thousands of people, honest and dishonest, are trying to figure out how to work the system to the best advantage for themselves. Most will do this to maximize the benefits the law intends to give them but all too many will look for ways to get around it or even use it for ill-gotten gain. In a fallen world, I expect no less. Laws and policies always fail of their promise because they are administered by and apply to humans.
What I don’t understand is all the apocalyptic woe flowing from Christians. We have as much right as anyone to express our ideas and try and get them into law but when we fail, why is it necessary to treat it as the crack of doom? Does anyone honestly think that God was shocked by the results today?
If there is one thing I see clearly in Scripture it is how God continually uses fallen, even evil, people to do his work and will. Events that terrify and confuse the people going through them, people that often get not a word of explanation from God as to why they are suffering, turn out, as we read them from a safe distance, to be marvelous parts of God’s plan.
We cherish the story of Naomi and Ruth because we know how it ends and rightly praise God for the way He works in it. But Naomi lost her husband and sons and Ruth, a widow, ends up in a foreign land in extreme poverty and danger without a clue of what God is doing. Even as their story ends and they are again feeling the love and grace of God they go to their deaths never knowing why it all happened.
We may not like the ruling of the court, we may be convinced it is wrong. But why all the hand-wringing? Naomi teaches us it is OK to complain about our woes, but that our wise course of action is to go on with our lives and continue to do that which we know is right.
I am concerned for Christians in America because, if the demographics are to be believed, there are hard days ahead. Statistics show our numbers, as a percentage of the population, are diminishing rapidly. This would tell me that more, perhaps many more, laws are coming that we do not like. I’d like to hope this is my call to prayer and faith, not to complaining.