Despite what the title would lead you to believe, this post will not contain any rejoicing over the outcome of today’s election–nor, hopefully, will it contain any bashing of the president or American citizens. (Tangent: I have to admit, I love thinking up titles that suggest a meaning opposite of the content which they represent but actually fit the content. But that’s probably an indirect admission of my own arrogance at thinking myself clever–soo, in a sense, this tangent did what it was meant to do: let you know more of me, the good and the bad together.)
On this day in American history, many of my friends and perhaps even me are voicing and experiencing varying degrees of emotion from disappointment to despair. The cause, you can probably surmise, is the 2012 presidential election.
After a talk with my ever-wise sister, I felt inclined to write this, to share my thoughts. The ideas behind it are somewhat similar to those previously expressed in Of Presidents and Prayer, but still, I feel a need to express.
Rather than focus on everything that’s wrong in the world, I wanted to take a moment to focus on everything that I’m thankful for related to this election (perhaps November and the theme of thankfulness leading up to the month’s trademark holiday, Thanksgiving, is largely influential here).
I’m thankful that there was only a 1% difference in the popular vote of Americans. Despite the difficult economic times, frightening environmental disasters, and horrifying world events of the past several years, Americans have remained steady as a whole. The same cannot be said for other historical peoples, such as Germany and Italy, who in times of crisis reacted with panic, willingly giving over themselves to dictators who ruled without restraint and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
I’m thankful for the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights, who established checks and balances so that no one branch of government can rule unopposed, who structured our government in such a way that change happens slowly, not suddenly. With all the barriers to ratifying an amendment and even the barriers that exist before passing a bill, we are largely protected from political leaders of any party who wish to have their way with our nation.
I’m thankful for the post-FDR Congress, which established that no president, present or future, shall rule for more than eight years. No matter how bad a president is, his time is short–of course, the same goes for the opposite. But how many truly good (by this, I refer to the quality of their souls, not their political prowess) politicians exist today, and is it even possible for one of them to filter up through the ranks to presidential candidate?
I’m thankful that even though my vote–and yours–has practically no real value, I don’t have to worry. As Psalm 135:5-6 says, “I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on earth, in the seas and all their depths.” My Lord is the same Lord who made Pharaoh shelter Joseph and his brothers in the famine, who made another Pharaoh with a hard heart let His people go, who made King Nebuchadnezzar think he was a cow until he acknowledged HIm, who made King Xerxes spare the Jews, who made Kings Cyrus and Artaxerxes send His people back into their land, who made Caesar Augustus issue a decree for a census so that His Son would be born in the right city…yeah, my Lord is pretty powerful.
I believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible, so I believe it when it says “there is no authority except which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” and I ought to submit to them–as long as they do not require me to go against God (Romans 13:1-5).
I’m thankful that America is not the best that it gets. If America really was the hope of the world, as certain politicians have been recorded as claiming recently, I might very well despair. But “everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). To quote the old hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name” (“My Hope Is Built”). There is “a better country–a heavenly one,” a country which I am not ashamed to call my own, a country in which I can take unadulterated pride, of which I can wholeheartedly urge others to become citizens (Hebrews 11:13-16).
“When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!”
Which segways into the next thing I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful that one day, I’ll die or Christ will return, and then I will live fully in the one truly perfect kingdom under the only completely good, just, righteous Ruler in all of history. King David, Charlemagne, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln–they’ve got nothing on Him. I eagerly await the day I see my King face-to-face, and rejoice in such passages as Revelation 21:1-4: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, beautifully prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
In the near or distant future, America will almost certainly fall to pieces, as have all empires since the creation of the earth. I will never find a human government that does exactly what I want it to, unless I establish a small independent state in which I am the only citizen and the only governing authority. I will disagree about most things with some people and some things will all people. I will have my hopes crushed by politicians and elections. But one thing remains.
The Lord is good. The Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. The Lord does not change like mankind. The Lord is love. The Lord is justice. The Lord is grace. The Lord is mercy. The Lord is power. The Lord is in control, of my life, of my family’s life, of my country’s path, of the world’s course. Satan may be the lord of this earth, but “Christ…is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:10).
For that, this American and, more importantly, heavenly citizen is very thankful, indeed.