Dear Sisters and Brothers:
There is little doubt that the 2016 presidential election will long be remembered as one of the most contentious elections in US history. For at least 18 months, the nation watched as a line of candidates vilified each other, and later as the races narrowed, the public had ringside seats as scandals surfaced, mistakes and mismanagement were exposed, bigotry walked unashamed, lies countered lies, and misogyny and vulgarity swam naked muddying the waters of public discourse, until the level of the election plunged way below the plumb line of human decency. Many people were either hyped by the rhetoric of the remaining two contenders, or turned off by such a toxic, polarizing atmosphere that they held their noses and voted, or took their chances and voted for “the lesser of two evils.” In the aftermath, as in the case of many elections, some will now contend that they will be led by a leader they did not choose.
Life is all about making choices. As far back as the Garden of Eden, both Adam and Eve had a choice to make—to obey or disobey God. They chose the latter, and sin entered God’s perfect world.
In the Old Testament, we read of an aged Moses passing the baton of leadership to his protégé Joshua. Before he did, he told the people of Israel, “You know God’s laws, and it isn’t impossible to obey them….Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster. I am commanding you to be loyal to the Lord, to live the way he has told you, and to obey his teachings…if you obey him, you will live and become successful and powerful” (Deuteronomy 30:11, 15-18, CEV).
Today, we are also asked to choose… “to be loyal to the Lord …and to obey his teachings” or totally reject his sovereignty. Unlike presidential elections, however, where our choices may temporarily affect our wellbeing for 4 to 8 years, when we choose to ignore or neglect God, those choices can have disastrous, eternal consequences.
Our nation, indeed our world, will never be healed unless we and our leaders, turn back to God and give him his rightful place. And, we, as Christians, need to lead the way. Again, we have a choice. God says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).
The results of an election, for either candidate, does not change who God is. Nothing takes God by surprise. God is in control. He always was and always will be. “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19, NKJV). The eyes of the Lord are watching us as we make choices. Are we going to be derailed by our circumstances or will we trust God, and be willing to serve him faithfully? May we be eager to respond as Joshua did: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NKJV).