Welp, Obama won. Depending on which one of my friends and family you ask, this was either a catastrophe or a brilliant victory. I have my leanings in one direction, but that’s neither here nor there. Last night, as the results were pouring in, I had a bit of realization. I was on facebook, of course, and I was seeing both the dismay or the jubilation on full display in updates of varying maturity and I decided to start a post.
It was a post I still believe in, one telling people that no matter who won, the call was still the same, to pray for him and show him honor. (1 Tim 2:1-2) It was basically a rehash of one point in my post on what people should be doing on election day. It was at that point though, that a wonderful loved one, who shall remain nameless, called me out on my crap. See, in my haste to recover from my youthful, political semi-idolatry and my pastoral instinct to call people back to trust in Christ no matter what circumstance, I had forgotten some things: people are human and elections do matter.
What do I mean by that? I mean, people are human. They have human reactions like fear, joy, heartache, delight, hope, and dismay. These emotions are okay to have in measure. Yes, Jesus is still king, on the throne, ruling, reigning, and bringing all things to a glorious end, and yes, I believe that this election was part of his sovereign lordship of history. Still, some are legitimately sad, worried, and frustrated because of convictions about life, religious freedom, and economic decisions that will affect the jobs of people they know and love. And, yes, some are legitimately happy because of convictions in largely the same areas in the opposite direction. This isn’t to say they’re equally right. They’re not. Truth isn’t like that.
Still, it is to say that while eternal realities are to be our ground, our hope, our life, it’s okay to have reactions to human, historical ones–Jesus did too. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He was angered at the money-changers in the Temple. He was delighted by children. He was joyful at the faith of the Centurion. These were human, historical realities, none of which was a surprise to the sovereign God, but at which Jesus rejoiced and grieved.
Where am I going with this? Well, first, I’m saying that last night I was very close to being a sanctimonious ass (in the donkey sense). Me posting what I was going to would have been just a dumb, insensitive, holier-than-thou move. (Not saying anything about other posts of the same vein. Just mine.) I am also saying that it’s okay to grieve for a bit. It’s okay to celebrate too. It’s human and history does matter.
If I may still speak something into the situation, I would just encourage you to consider how you do those things.
To the jubilant, the rejoicing, those who believe that Obama is the right man for the job, and that his economic, moral, and social policies (or at least some of them), are what this country needs right now, it’s okay to be happy, but be careful who you boast in and how you boast.
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23-24)
Again, all righteousness, truth, justice that you think this President will usher in, the ultimate source is the LORD. Thank him, and don’t rub it in the face of those who’ve lost.
To the broken, the anxious, the grieving, those who believe that Romney would have been better, and that his economic, moral, and social policies (or at least some of them), are what this country needs right now, it’s okay to grieve, but I would remind you that in all the situations in which Christians should rightly grieve, Paul tells us that you don’t have to ”grieve as others do who have no hope.” (1 Thes 4:13) In the context, Paul is talking about the death of loved ones and resurrection, but for the God who is sovereign over death, nothing is too small, not even American history. You can trust and hope in him.
Well, hopefully I managed to get that out with a minimum of sanctimoniousness. If I didn’t, well, this blog is Reformedish–He’s still working on me.
Soli Deo Gloria
Ps. If you are looking to pray for the President, Kevin DeYoung has written out a simple, faithful prayer as a model to use.