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Trusting in Chariots

November 4, 2016

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”.  Psalm 20:7

I don’t know anyone, not one single person, who doesn’t feel that this is the worst and ugliest Presidential election ever.  My Christian friends in particular are distressed with many saying things like “I really don’t want to vote for either one.”  I’ve heard and read many heartfelt statements, like the one from this guy, who “reluctantly decided to vote. “

Some Christian leaders, like Jim Daly, are telling us we ought to vote anyway.  Others, like John Piper, say it is OK if we don’t vote.  But they all agree, tacitly or openly, that this is the worst election year ever.  But is it?

I saw a report on the news this morning explaining that all the horrible things Democrats have been saying about Trump – he is a racist, a misogynist, incompetent, unqualified, etc., etc., etc., were said about Romney too.  And McCain.  And Bush.  While I haven’t seen any detailed analysis of the things Republicans said about Obama my memory is clear – they were nasty.  Maybe this isn’t the worst election ever.

So why does it feel so awful, particularly to Christians?  I am beginning to think it is because we’ve had to come face-to-face with the reality that we’ve conflated church and state far more than we ever realized.  It was easy to blur church and state when some of our political candidates were expressing things that seemed consistent with our values and faith.  It was easy to look to those leaders, or potential leaders, of our country as Messiah figures when they were claiming to want to build the kind of world we want to live in.

But now, suddenly, the words candidates are saying, and the actions they want to take, seem not only different from what we value, but actually antithetical, and things feel different.  We are forced to consider an unpleasant possibility; maybe we’ve trusted in chariots rather than in the Lord our God.  Maybe we’ve become used to believing and expecting that as long as we elect the right people, we’ll be safe and secure.   Maybe we need to suck it up and confess that God is still God whether we live in a land that promotes our values, or in a land that is hostile to them.

Maybe we need to turn our fighting words into plows and divisive rhetoric into pruning hooks.  Maybe we need to exchange our tearing down and destroying for building and planting.  But here is the question – what if we do and things don’t get better?  What if we commit ourselves to turning the other cheek and loving our neighbors as ourselves and things still don’t turn out the way we want?  Well, perhaps then we will really know what it means to walk by faith.

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From → Christianity

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