I’ve delayed writing this for 2 reasons: 1. Everybody and their mother was writing about the election within seconds of the numbers coming in and I don’t tend to jump on bandwagons very quickly; 2. I wanted to be sure I actually believed it. The fact this post is being read by you now should tell you that yes, I actually do believe it.
Here is the basic premise – the election results are neither as great or as terrible as the proponents of greatness or terribleness want to have you believe.
I’m anticipating one question, which is, “would you say that if your guy won (or lost)?” Again, the number 2 comes in handy. 1. “My guy” was actually 3 – one who did not run, the other two were bumped out earlier in the primaries. So, I didn’t have a guy in the general election. 2. I admit I may have been a bit slower to post this, but I’d like to believe I would have eventually done so (but I have every reason to suspect myself).
By now, you’ve heard all the arguments about what one guy winning and another guy losing means – I don’t really care to get into those. The future projections are out there, and it seems that the only options we are being presented with to help us render a reaction is unbridled, irrational enthusiasm on the one hand, or unbridled, irrational despair on the other. Of course, I have purposely dodged most of the post-election aftermath, so I’m up for being proven wrong on that point.
I said this to my church family on Wednesday night, and I now say it to my brothers and sisters elsewhere across the country. I could not be more excited by the what the future holds, and it has nothing to do with who does or does not sit in the Oval Office. It has nothing to do with who will or will not represent me in DC, or Olympia, or locally. Yes, I have some concerns politically, socially, economically, culturally, and I intend to be active in addressing them (not necessarily via this blog, but maybe). But this election was about something larger than all of those issues combined. For the follower of Christ, this election was a gift.
If you have not already tuned me out, let me answer the question lurking in your mind about how the election was a gift. Consider what has happened. The lines between one way of thinking and another have been clearly drawn. The results are either utter confusion, foolish arrogance, pained hopelessness, or some caustic frappe of all three. Worldviews have been exposed, ranging from biblical (regrettably, the minority) to the absurd and atheistic.
So what’s the gift in that?
We live in a time when the transforming nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ can be directly applied. Look, the mess we are in, we are not going to get out of it by election, legislation, demonstration, or any other -tions. Those things may have helped us get to where we are, but they will not deliver us. So, for all those who are wound up (either delirious or despondent), settle down. The individual(s) you are/were supporting are temporal, finite, fallible, weak, powerless, prone to selfishness and self-interest, and wretched sinners. I empathize with them because I am each of those things too. I can say with confidence (though not proud of it) that I am the worst sinner I know.
But I know that my life has been forever changed by the perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who died in my place. The command for followers of Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 is to share this message, that Christ died to save sinners. Christ’s work on the cross has this transformative nature about it, such that sinners become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). They act differently. They speak differently. They think differently. They have real hope rooted in One who is eternal, infinite, infallible, strong, powerful, and supernaturally oriented to glorify God and bless those who obey Him. Their focus is on things above. Their perspective is informed by God’s Word. Over time, they begin to act like Christ, speak like Christ, think like Christ – not perfectly, to be sure, but consistently enough that they can be readily identified as belonging to Christ.
That last aspect is what also has me excited. Far too long, we Christians have sat on the sidelines and watched the world go by, moving off our seat only if something was hitting really close to home, usually at glacial speed and with the fervor of someone weaned on pickle juice. We became reactors rather than reformers. We waited until the last day before a bill was passed before we dared to say something that could be considered biblical or evangelical in nature. We waited until the final nominees were set before we ratcheted up our calls for national repentance and for godly leaders. Imagine if we took the Great Commission seriously and began communicating the gospel and discipling new believers long before that pen was raised to write the bill, or before “that guy” became the presumptive nominee.
I describe myself as being a “glass is completely full” guy (filled with water and air for those that don’t get it) and at times I have been called Pollyanna-ish in my perspective. That not withstanding, I believe the church is awake. I believe the church sees what is going on and is willing to gently, but aggressively, permeate the culture with the gospel of Christ. I anticipate much prayer for the souls of those who do not know Christ. I envision Christians living lives of repentance as they preach the message of repentance. I think the election has set the church up for using her influence on the culture – not an influence of man centered thinking, but an influence rooted in the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Nothing, absolutely nothing,that happened on Tuesday is beyond the reach of the gospel.
The challenges are many. But I have never been more excited about how the gospel will flourish than I am right now. To define it clearly – how was the election a gift? It is a gift because it presents a wonderful opportunity to speak of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost, hopeless, confused, angry, and idolaters. The gospel frees people from the slavery to sin and its penalty of death. The gospel transforms heart, soul, mind and body. The gospel is the only thing that delivers us. I’m eager to share this hope.
Tuesday’s events were neither as great nor as terrible as we are being told. What is great is the good news of Jesus Christ dying in our place on the cross to rescue sinners. What is terrible is living a life controlled by, focused on, yielded to, anything but Him.