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The Election: Priority Number One

Students laughing outside

The Election: Priority Number One

by Pastor Matthew Sullivan, Director of Campus Life

As we approach the last few weeks of this presidential campaign, it is heavy on my heart that many faithful families in our school may be having difficult conversations and facing hard choices come election time. Jesus never promised being a Christian voter would be easy! And yet, here we are, nearing the decision time, and our electorate is divided in perhaps an unprecedented way. We have seen political dialogue devolve into bickering and caricature in new and disappointing ways. It has been difficult to suss out the true policy differences between candidates because of the high-pitched roar surrounding each of them. Of course, as the children of God, when we get discouraged, we can go to His Word for encouragement and sustenance. This passage from 1st Timothy has been a particular encouragement to me during the past few weeks.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

The admonition for us is to make our first impulse prayer. Whether it is when we are voting, having a political discussion with another person, or consuming media regarding the election, the posture of prayer is paramount. Jesus remains King of all, regardless of who will occupy the White House come January. Prayer firstly puts us in the place of humility, realizing that our God holds the future and, when it comes down to it, we really don’t have any control anyway. We may think we know what is best for our country, and it is certainly our duty to vote in a way we feel prayerfully led to. But, ultimately we leave the results up to God in humble reliance on Him.

Secondly, when we pray, we are able to give God our frustrations and disappointments. The brokenness of the world and our nation, in particular, is very disconcerting, and as we pray and tell these feelings to the Lord, He gives us eyes to see where we have been part of the problem and where we can make a difference for His Kingdom. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and faith is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” This is why Paul was exhorting Timothy and his disciples to go to their prayer closets as their first impulse.

And third, as we pray, we begin to see the person on “the other side” not as a “force” to be conquered nor an “agenda” to be put away, but a beloved creation of God. The Father longs for Donald to be saved, for Hillary to be saved, for Gary to be saved, and for Jill to be saved. The current climate works against the Biblical truth that each candidate and voter is made in the image of God, and thus deserving of our respect. We can disagree strongly in the political arena while maintaining our faith’s framework that we are all “deeply flawed, yet deeply loved.” This is the heart of God, and prayer draws us into His heart.

As the Gospel hymn proclaims, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” These next few weeks are a wonderful time for us to draw our families together to pray for our nation and for the choices we are facing as we seek to make this “a more perfect union.” Above all, we cry out, Come, Holy Spirit!