Faith: Vote, but trust God more
We are coming up on what many in the media call "the biggest election of our lifetime."
Of course, we heard the same thing two years ago, and two years before that, and two years before that.
If you're like me, you have mixed emotions when it comes to elections. On one hand, it is a great privilege to be able to participate in free elections. The liberty we have in the United States is something that we should never take for granted.
On the other hand, the negative campaigns, the attack ads and the constant stream of bickering, advertisements and social media propaganda can be exhausting. I think we'll all be relieved when it comes to an end next week. We won't have to deal with all the political propaganda until the next big election cycle begins, which most likely will start again in December!
Elections can bring enthusiasm and disappointment. When our candidates win, we have feelings of hope that things will get better. When our candidates lose, we become disheartened and question the direction of our society and government. It's easy to become cynical.
Candidates often fail to keep their promises. Politics is a messy business, and virtue and integrity are rare. It's easy to lose hope and become cynical, but despair and cynicism won't help you or our society.
We are a very divided society right now, and it can feel pretty dark. Let me share a couple of suggestions this election season.
First, there is a God who is still sovereign. The world is not spinning out of control with no purpose or meaning. God still reigns over his creation. Governments and politicians have a degree of power, but God is all-powerful.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." (Romans 13:1 — ESV)
Regardless of elections, God is still the authority over all other authorities. Put your hope in Him, not in the latest politician.
Second, God has created us and called us to a purpose, here and now. We may not have the power to influence or change national policies, but we can make a difference and serve God faithfully where He has placed us.
Peter wrote, "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God." (1 Peter 2:16 — ESV)
This could be a great time to refocus our attention on what God is calling us to do in our communities. The deepest need of all people is to know the love of God and to love other people, and no election or government program can fulfill these needs. They can only be fulfilled by people who love God and share His love with others.
Programs and policies can be helpful, but they can't fulfill the desperate longing to be known and loved. If you really want to make a difference in this world, stop trying to change it through angry political tweets. Step away from the divisiveness of social media and cable news, and go have a cup of coffee with your neighbor. Volunteer at your local school. Visit a lonely resident at a nursing home. Pray. Learn to follow Jesus and serve others with generosity and grace.
If you do these things, you'll not only have a lot more peace this election season, you'll also make the world a little better place.