Saturday, October 29, 2016

MAKING SENSE OF ELECTION 2016 - OR TRYING TO...



Wading into the election fray seemed like a good idea a few weeks ago. When I sat down to write, however, I wondered if I'd lost my mind. I dreaded trying to tackle the impossible task of making sense of the circus that Election 2016 has become. 

There's good news, though. We don't have to make sense of it. We have to find God in the midst of it. 


This morning, I did what I always do. Prayed about what I should write. Today, the only thing in my heart was, "It's time to write about the election." I'm doing it, but with a sense of trepidation. 

If you're going to read this, please read it all the way to the end.

We can probably all agree that neither of the major candidates are perfect people. None of them are ideal candidates. We can probably all agree that there's been considerable rhetoric from both sides. Some of what has been said is probably true. Some has been skewed to make truth appear less favorable. Some is likely blatantly untrue.


Can I sort it out and find the truth in the midst of the jumble? No.


There are many issues about which I care, but what I care about doesn't matter nearly as much as those things about which God cares. 

Let's stop for a few minutes and look at the things that matter to God. (This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but representative.) 

1) God cares about loving Him and loving others.


"And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39


2) God cares about justice, kindness (or mercy), and humility.

"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8


3) God cares about life.


(I'm lumping the issues of pre-born life, care of the elderly, and end of life issues, including physician-assisted suicide, in this broad category.)

"Thou didst form my inward parts... I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14 


4) God cares about the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the prisoner.


(I'm lumping the issues of poverty, homelessness, and refugees in this broad category.)

"Then the King will say to those on His right...'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36


5) God cares about a servant heart.


"But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12


6) God cares about our dependence upon Him in matters of finance.

(This includes both personal and national debt.)

"Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:32-33 nasb

7) God cares about Israel and our response to Israel.

"Now the Lord said to Abram,... I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse." Genesis 12:1, 3 nasb 

If we are to follow Him, we must care about the things He cares about. With that in mind, I tried to look at the things the candidates care about and compare them to what God cares about. 


It was nearly impossible. 

What's written doesn't necessarily match what's been said. What's been said doesn't necessarily match the life the candidates have lived.

I've reviewed both the Clinton and Trump websites, as well as that of the Libertarian party and its candidate. 


The Libertarian Party's statement of principles says: "We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." 

I read those words and they sent chills through me. I envisioned heroin dealers selling on the street corners without fear of arrest because they "exercise sole dominion over their lives" and "do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others." 

I can see so many ways that the libertarian philosophy can go wrong that there's no way I can support this party or their candidate.

I'm not endorsing either of the major candidates, either. 

With that said, here are the things I'm using to make my decision. 

LOVING GOD

Of the major candidates and their running mates, who professes born-again, sold-out Christianity and has the background that seems to confirm it?

JUSTICE/MERCY/SERVANT HEART/POOR/HUNGRY/HOMELESS

Of the major candidates and their running mates, who responded to a major disaster during the campaign (Louisiana flooding) by going to the scene, giving aid, and personally handing out supplies? (Admittedly this may have been a performance, but even a show of mercy is better than no show at all.)

FINANCE

There's been so much rhetoric about this area that I don't have clear evidence of either party's candidate being truly reliable, but which candidate's finances appear to be less questionable? (That's a terrible way to decide, but it's all I have.)

REFUGEES

There is nothing in Scripture that says to build a wall around ourselves and keep strangers out. Who has a heart for the refugee? 

LIFE

Who supports life in all its stages? Who opposes partial-birth abortion? (As a physician, I can see no reason late-stage partial birth abortion could be necessary, and I cannot support a candidate who does.)

ISRAEL

Who most clearly stands with Israel?

In the end, the two issues I'm using to choose a candidate are their pro-life stance and their support for Israel, because I believe those two issues are the ones that are most representative of what God cares about. 

You may feel differently. That's fine with me.

WITH THAT SAID...

I don't expect things to go well, no matter who wins. 

This election cycle has made me cringe over and over again. None of the candidates are ideal. None of the candidates can "make America great again," no matter what they claim. 

Only God can make a great nation, and He will do it only in response to the true repentance of His people.

"...if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 nasb

Healing only comes after humility and repentance. They are not optional, and we aren't there yet. 

I expect things will change in this country after November 8th, and in ways we don't like and won't enjoy.

If we are to balance the budget and pay off our debt, there will be a marked change in our way of life. That's not necessarily bad, but it will be very different and very hard. We'll get used to it. We'll learn to adapt. Or we won't. 

There might be chaos for a while. Rioting in the streets. Murder and mayhem. That's happening in other parts of the world right now. We'll get through it. Or we won't. 

The Revelation given to John on Patmos describes a terrible time to come, and we are closer to these events now than we've ever been. Are we "there"? I don't know. Only God the Father knows the timing. 

I hope the pre-tribulation people, who think we will be "raptured out" of all the hard times, are right, but I doubt they are. I believe we, as believers, will see at least a significant part of the hard times to come. 

I've written a lot of difficult things that may sound hopeless today, but let me end this blog with some certain truth. 

God is still in charge

No matter who wins the election, God will still be in charge.

King Jesus will return one day, and when He does, a better day will be just around the corner. A new Jerusalem. A new heaven and a new earth.

We have to get through the hard times to get to it, but what's coming will be worth it. 

If you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus, now would be a good time to meet Him. I'll be happy to introduce you. (Message me if you're interested.)

Sorting out this mess of an election is hard. I've struggled to find what God wants in the midst of it. I'm not throwing stones at anyone who views it differently. 

When November 9th rolls around, we will still be "we the people" and we still be "one nation under God", whether the majority want to be or not. No matter what our views, no matter who occupies the White House, there's one thing for certain.

God's people need to love Him with our whole hearts and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we want America to be great again, that's where we should start.

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." Revelation 22:20-21 nasb.
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photo above courtesy of freeimages.com
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: A Different Kind of Prayer Work

#election2016