What Now? Living for God in the Wake of the Election
In the days leading up to the election, Christians prayed for our country, prayed about the decision they were faced with, and made their choices. Children looked to their parents for answers, and the answers weren’t easy. Some parents told their children that you sometimes have to pick the policies, not the person, to fight for the rights of the Christian family and the unborn child—even if the person representing those policies is utterly unlikeable. Others looked their children in the eye and told them that sometimes, you have to vote against your own political preferences in order to show the world that you will never associate the name of Jesus with a violent, unloving man.
Last week we reminded ourselves and the children that no matter what happens, God is good and in control. Then we went to the polls, voted as conscience dictated, and returned home to watch and wait.
Did you remember God’s sovereignty as the results came in, or did you worry? When the winner was announced, did you still remember? If you have been mourning and afraid for our country this past week, do not fear: God is sovereign. If you are celebrating the results, do not gloat: it is God who puts rulers in their place, and God will bring them low again (see Isaiah 40:22–23).
How should we live in light of the election? As Christians, our responsibility doesn’t end at the polls. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity and responsibility to point a country divided by fear and hate to the hope and truth that only come from God. In light of that hope, we must remember God’s sovereignty, demonstrate His love, and never back down from the truth.
Remember that God decides who will hold political power
Daniel 2:21—He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
God is sovereign. He is King over the whole world, and He is the one who chooses who will lead the nations, including America. Sometimes, He uses good rulers for good; other times, He uses evil rulers for judgment. As Americans, we have the right and responsibility to help select our rulers, but ultimately, God decides how the vote turns out. In Romans 13:1, Paul tells us, “There is no authority except from God,” and God is the one who has put current rulers into place. Do you speculate on what any given leader will do right or wrong? Rest assured that God knows exactly what is going to happen, and it’s all part of His sovereign plan.
Treat others with grace and the love of Christ
Romans 12:17–18—Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Fear for the future has been a trademark of this election and is still creating a wide rift between Americans—including many Christians. The results of this election have led some to believe it’s okay to hate and attack those of different backgrounds. Others believe they must vilify and shun anyone who voted for the candidate that apparently encouraged the hate.
As Christians, neither response is correct. God calls us to treat others rightly, no matter what they do to us. Colossians 4:5–6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” As you engage with fellow believers or nonbelievers in the days and months ahead, be very careful with the words you use. Are you listening to other people? Do you understand why they are angry right now—or why they are relieved? When you open your mouth on the subject of politics, is it to put the other side down, or is it to let them know that you are willing to view them as respectable people and hear their story through the eyes of the God who loves them enough to die for them? In this time of division, pray that your words will be ones that reconcile all people to God and reconcile believers to fellowship with each other—don’t widen the rift.
Don’t partner with the darkness
Isaiah 5:20—Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
It’s easy for Christians to get caught up in politics—to intertwine faith with the candidates who promise to love the forgotten or the ones who promise to protect life and family values. However, neither major party in America is built upon true godliness. 2 Corinthians 6:14 reminds us that righteousness and lawlessness have no partnership. Claiming that either major party is a Christian party is to turn a blind eye to the mistakes and goals of selfish men that fill the government.
No matter whom you voted for, don’t ignore the wrong that both candidates have done. At this point, post-election, it is not a competition to prove who the more fallen person is. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” It’s up to Christians to call evil evil regardless of where it is found. The world is watching us, and we must put representing Jesus ahead of singing the praises of any political party, even if a certain party’s values are important to us. Be clear and honest about what is right or wrong.
Know where your hope comes from
1 Peter 3:14–15—“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
This week has been a week full of mourning, anger and fear for many Americans. As Christians, we should not live in fear of what could have happened or what may yet happen in our country. Our hope is in Christ Jesus and the sacrifice He made to offer us eternal life, and our focus in post-election America should be one of gentle proclamation of that hope, with both truth and love.
In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Todd told the congregation, “There’s not hopelessness after the election. Why? God. That’s why.” God is sovereign, He is righteous, and He is love. None of these things have changed in the last week. That is the God that we serve, and that is the God that we must continue to represent.
About the author
Elizabeth Buege graduated from the University of Northwestern—St. Paul with a B.A. in English Writing. She works as a freelance book editor, offering writing and editing tips alongside her services at www.elizabethbuege.com. She also teaches weekly writing classes as the secondary writing tutor for the ESCHEL homeschool co-op in Oakdale, MN.
When Elizabeth isn’t working, you can probably find her reading or writing for fun. She also loves gardening, cooking, exploring parks, and hanging out with big dogs and small children. She attends First Free in Maplewood and is thankful to have found such strong fellowship so close to home.