Monday, October 17, 2016

Finding God in Political Chaos

Politics. I don't understand how I can simultaneously find something so intriguing, and yet so revolting. In the midst of election season, most of us are absolutely immersed in politics. There are political ads on every website. All your friends on social media are trying to tell you how you should vote. There are political ads on TV and political ads on each radio station. You probably have neighbors with political yard signs or bumper stickers. Turn on any news channel and politics is basically all they'll talk about. And that doesn't even address those of us who sought out even more politics by watching political debates.

And more than likely, after being assaulted by politics on all sides, you've formed an opinion. I know I have. 

I've been thinking recently about Philippians 4:8. This verse instructs us to think about things that are true and noble. Right and pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. Praiseworthy. I found it somewhat amusing that this election season probably could not be accurately described by even one of those words. I was amused, but also bothered. And as I thought about it, I realized what my real problem with this election has been: Pride.

I don't think it's a secret that politicians often have over-inflated egos. There's more than enough pride to go around between the two major party candidates and their running mates, and that doesn't even factor in the pride of all the third party candidates that are also in this mix. But actually, problematic as it may be, their pride isn't my main problem. 

It's mine.

See, I read Philippians 4:8. I found truth. I considered it, and I found application. I concluded that we were really overvaluing politics, and that we should focus on better things. I even made a super spiritual sounding Facebook post about it. I was talking as if my hope wasn't in a politician. I was talking as if I believed God was in control, and that other things were more important. Yet the thoughts I found lurking in my subconscious were not quite in the same place. I still found myself thinking that if God was truly wise, he would see why my chosen candidate is the best. I began to think of my candidate as the only one God could work through. If He was really good, he would snap his fingers and make my candidate win. I began to think of my candidate as the obvious best choice, and therefore God's choice. 

Except that's not how this works. 

Isaiah 55:8 says "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways' declares the Lord." What God thinks should dictate what I think, and it's foolish to try to switch that around. This is why I cannot believe that God supports the Republicans, or that God is a Democrat, or a member of any other party. He sees beyond what we can see, and thinks beyond what we can think. How can we put Him under a label that we made up? 

In addition, I, like many others, have concerns about the Supreme Court, and who the next President will appoint. Yet I have to wonder, are we making an idol of a spot on the Supreme Court? Do we value an ally in the Supreme Court over our Ally in Heaven? I find the Supreme Court to be a non-factor in comparison with the power and wisdom of our God. Do we dare think that a Supreme Court Justice can hinder God and his plans? Even if an undesirable candidate gets elected and appoints someone undesirable, please remember this: The most explosive growth in church history happened under a government that couldn't have cared less about Christians' political opinions. The government of the Roman Empire was pretty openly hostile to Christianity, and the church flourished anyway. Our future lies where God directs it, and no president will be able to stop that.

To sum up, I'm not saying we shouldn't vote. I'm not even saying we should rethink who we're voting for. But what I am suggesting is an examination of where our hearts are in this political mess. Don't put your hope in a politician. Don't expect God to accept your logic and decide your candidate should win. Put your hope and faith in God, and trust Him to take care of you - to take care of the whole nation - no matter how the politics play out.