Hope In The Ruins
Unless you happen to live under a rock, you know that there is an election coming up in a few months here in these United States. On top of the usual furor and anxiety that this season usually brings to our people, this year’s choice of candidates is causing a level of consternation that’s unusual, even for an election year.
Indeed, who occupies the office of President of the United States, arguably the most powerful office on earth, is a very important question that good citizens should give due diligence to. But for Christians (who always have the duty to be good citizens as well) there is the opportunity, or perhaps even the duty, to rise above the anxiety caused by the politics of this world and its princes (and don’t think we don’t have princes just because we vote for them!).
Reading social media sites like Facebook and Twitter leads one to notice that not only are Christians becoming either excessively attached to and impassioned by one particular candidate or coldly detached from all interest in furthering the political good, but they’re becoming increasingly anxious, angry, hostile, worried sick, and downright mean toward each other. I think this is because, at some level, we tend to believe that either a) all of the earthly problems we experience can be solved by simply having the ‘right’ policies in place, and therefore our political opponents are really the enemies of goodness and peace or b) a bad politician in office with bad policies will be so disastrous as to effectively nullify the happiness that we believe is ours from God.
Both of these are really symptoms of human pride and can poison our hearts.
None of this is to downplay the importance of political involvement or to suggest that there aren’t really policy ideas that are better than others (sometimes drastically so). However, as Christians we have to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Messiah and only He has conquered sin and death. And aren’t all the bad things we’re afraid of simply derivative of sin and death at some level?
Psalm 146 counsels us:
“Put not your trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no salvation…How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in The Lord his God.”
That’s not some kind of vague spiritual ideal, nor is it advice to totally ignore the temporal realm and its concerns. Rather it’s an admonition to remember that no political or social system, no philosophy, and no earthly leader, no matter how good and helpful they might be, can save us from what we ultimately fear, namely sin and its consequence of death.
So, if you find yourself so depressed and anxious by the news and, especially by the political campaigns, that you find that it’s robbing you of peace in your soul, perhaps it would be well to spend a lot less time listening to the idiot box that says something different every five minutes, and listen more to the Word of God who says the same thing for eternity. What if we did five minutes of Lectio Divina on the scriptures for every hour of cable news we watched? How would our perspective change?
Jesus Christ has conquered the world and all its powers are subject to his authority. His victory is complete and inevitable. When November comes, vote your conscience, because that’s all you can do, and worrying more about it is probably not going to assist you in forming your conscience.
Jesus Christ is King, now and forever, even if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are president. That’s the great gift our Faith gives us. Let’s hold on to it.