"Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:10-12 ESV)
It might seem like we have been in the middle of a never-ending political cycle in the U.S. but there is light at the end of the tunnel, one more week until the 2016 election and then the start of a new cycle! We have heard all the arguments, we have engaged with our best points on social media and now all that is left is to vote and keep trusting in our true King.
As Christians we have a hope that far exceeds political schemes and regimes. We have a King that reigns over all things and never neglects his people. It is in light of that truth that we will survive another election and whichever outcome wins the day.
The Bible does not gives Christians a mandate to vote; there are calls for submission to the emperor or ruler of our day but the upside-down kingdom of God doesn't work the way of earthly kingdoms and the counter-cultural life of the church flourishes whether or not their is political participation. But given that we, at least in the U.S., have the freedom to vote and influence outcomes of elections, by all means we should prayerfully participate and vote.
That being said, in the church we will find as many political views as there are people and we may come to different conclusions on whom and what to vote for after prayer and study of the Word. Given this reality there are three things all of us can keep in mind as we head to the polls.
First we should be voters that have prayed often and ahead of an election. Seeking wisdom and direction but also petitioning the Lord on behalf of the nation we call home. That the ground would be fertile for a gospel harvest and God's kingdom would expand regardless of the lesser kings and queens that reign.
Next we as believers in Christ should not succumb to fear. So much of the rhetoric from all sides of the political spectrum has been driven by fear, the scariness of having this leader or that. Of what might come or who will control courts, schools and the military. We however have the opportunity to set aside the fear and rely instead on principles and the protection of the Lord as we live in this land. "Fear not for I am with you..." is a promise not based on who we elect president but based on who God is and because he is with us in Christ, we need not fear.
Finally, as we participate as we feel called we do so trusting in our true King, Jesus. In his sovereignty, the outcome will rest fully within his reign and control. He will use whom he determines and all of it is working toward his greatest glory and our greatest good, eventually. In this trust we can take on life, work and politics with a different lens than our unbelieving neighbors and it might just be the distinctive thing about us that is noticed and draws others to Christ. Our days are not made or ruined because of election results. We have joy in King Jesus and the redemption he has worked for us and the hope he makes known through us.
As we vote or choose not to; as we determine the candidates and issues to support, may we be a people of prayer, casting off fear and trusting in King Jesus and him alone.