Not of This World

I’ve been a voting member of society since my 18th birthday. Granted, a lot of people have a few more election cycles under their belts than me, but, I’ve been at it awhile.

Regardless how many elections I’ve participated in, and others have participated in, when I find myself in conversation (perhaps more often than I’d like) about tomorrow and the weeks that follow, many of us have the same sentiment. This one feels “bigger” and “different.”

Yes, we’re going to the polls to vote for a president of our country. We’ve been doing this every four years for centuries now. And yet “different” feels right.

For me, it’s the first time I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that, as a follower of Jesus first and foremost, I don’t really fit in either party that’s laid out as an option. As a child of adoption, I’m a fierce supporter of life. I’d love to see abortions drop to zero as women find support and care and understanding not just during their pregnancy but in the decades that follow the norm rather than the exception. Immigration matters to me. My friends come from around the world, some from harrowing situations in which our country provided refuge. The thought of what happens on our country’s border gives me chills. I believe in protecting the poor, the powerless, and those who are in need.

I’m somewhere in what feels like a “lost” land, where making a decision tomorrow just feels hard. I know I’m not alone in this.

Grappling with a “New to Me” Biblical Truth

This new realization that no party is perfectly built for the beliefs I hold as central to my heart has made me grapple with a new realization.

I’ve grown up hearing the story repeated in Mark chapter 12, where Jesus is tested by religious leaders when they asked him whether or not it was lawful for God’s people to pay taxes to Caesar. When Jesus examines a coin, telling those surrounding him to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s, it seems so cut and dry (and I’m not saying it’s not).

We are to give these governments we find ourselves ruled by what is theirs. We are to – ultimately – realize that we report to a higher power, however, while giving respect to the governments and rulers of this world.

And yet, as I find myself praying, searching scripture, and conversing with fellow believers, the discomfort I feel is new, and big. Suddenly, that story feels more relevant than ever. I don’t think it’s an accident. I believe Scripture is God-breathed, designed to provide every answer we need to go about our days that God has given us here on this Earth.

But the implications – and the hard questions it forces us to answer today are hard.

Who should we vote for? What’s best for our children, for the least of those in our society, and for those in different situations than us? Can we put our own desires aside for them?

What if unrest follows the elections tomorrow?

What if it’s harder than ever to put our faith to work in loving those we simply cannot understand?

What if society’s cracks are more exposed than ever (as I believe they are already becoming)? Are we able to face those cracks with perfect peace knowing that we are here for a reason and God has a plan for us in the time he’s given us?

Most importantly: who has our hearts? To whom, at the end of the day, to we place our trust in? On what foundation do we build our lives? Can we rest in peace knowing we don’t need to be in control? Can we love those around us after whatever results tomorrow brings, working as bridge-builders rather than bickerers?

The Questions are Hard

The questions are hard, but I think they’re important and worthy of our thoughts and our prayers today, before we’re forced to face them – literally – tomorrow.

I’ve found it helpful – as in most of life’s situations – to rest on truth.

Isaiah 54:10 (ESV) reads: For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

The hope we have is big, folks.

The very mountains of this world could fall tomorrow (which honestly, doesn’t feel like that much of a stretch at this point), and the God of the universe – the one who created stars, and galaxies, and planets, and oceans, – loves us and promised us a covenant of peace… a perfect peace that only someone with the power to create universes can promise. He SEES us and has compassion on us.

We. Are. Not. Alone.

Most importantly, we weren’t made to “belong.”

We are made to live in his promises and his peace, as citizens of his kingdom, while still contributing to the governments he has placed us under. We are to be ambassadors of his, ambassadors with the courage to stand for the oppressed and to love the unlovable, all while trusting in the only one who can provide eternal peace.

Whatever tomorrow brings, folks, we must remember the one who holds our hearts.

I’m clinging tight to this today, with great hope for the future. Let’s rest in that as we head to the polls, and as we grapple with whatever comes next, regardless of the outcome.

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