The day has finally arrived! Are you excited? Are you anxious? Today is the day when…the political ads finally stop rolling in like the waves of the sea. Oh wait, I mean this is the day when we in the United States of America get to exercise our right as citizens of this great nation to cast our vote. We get to decide who our leaders will be. Consider what a unique thing that is in the history of the world. Ours is a heritage unlike any other this world has known. No other nation has ever seen as long and unbroken a string of peaceful transfers of power from one person to another, one party to another, one political foe to another as we have. As we move forward together into this momentous day, here are some thoughts and a prayer to send us on our way.
Thought number 1: Some people–okay, a lot of people–are going to be intensely unhappy with how things go. Some of those are going to handle it very badly. They’ll give into fear or anxiety or anger, then take those feelings and direct them vigorously at the people around them. As followers of Jesus, while we are absolutely right to take gentle, wise actions to guard ourselves and our families from harm, if we respond to any of the hard emotions many will be feeling tomorrow in kind, we will only add to the chaos. That will serve exactly no one well and isn’t our call in Christ. Our call is to respond with kindness in whatever situation we are in and love our neighbors with the same self-giving, sacrificial love with which Jesus loved us.
Thought number 2: Some people–okay, a lot of people–are going to be intensely happy with how things go. There is a great and natural tendency for victors to boast in their victory. They hold it over the heads of the losers and take antagonizing steps to make their lives and their loss more painful than they already perceive them to be. As followers of Jesus, we are called to something more. We are called to humility, not pride. We are called to gentleness and grace, not haughtiness and vengeance. If the political winds blow one direction, they will eventually blow in the other direction, and we don’t want to find ourselves on the receiving end of unwise actions pursued in the thrall of victory that our political opponents will now be tempted to return in kind.
Thought number 3: No one knows what the nation will be facing as the sun rises tomorrow. No one. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Each campaign and polling operation will speak with some confidence, but no one knows. The race is tight and tightening. Trump out-performed the polls last time. Many of the polls this time show Biden with a bigger lead in many of those places than Trump overcame last time. Pollsters adjusted their methodologies, but the nation has changed so those may or may not accurately reflect the situation on the ground.
Because no one knows how things are going to turn out and because no one person has any power to meaningfully impact the outcome (yes, every vote counts, but it is highly unlikely that any of the major races will come down to a single vote), no one should worry about it. What will be will be and our faithful God will still be on His throne whatever the outcome happens to be. Cast your vote and trust in the Lord. The rest will work itself out to His glory because that’s how history is going to go.
Those are enough thoughts for the day, I think. Surely there are more, but that gives you just a little bit of food for thought. For now, if you will, would you join me in a prayer for our nation? You can read this. You can pray this. You can share this. You can ignore this. Whatever you do with this, though, make sure you do take some time to pray today. Even more so than voting, that’s the most powerful and important thing you can do today to shape the days that still yet lie ahead of us should our Lord tarry.
Father of all, our nation is at a crossroads today. Today, millions of people will express their convictions about how our nation should be governed. We will at the same time begin to discover how millions more have already expressed their convictions. The outcome of today will leave many riddled with fear, anxiety, and anger over the future fate of our nation. We pray today for your spirit of peace to descend in our midst.
We as a people are fractured and divided. This is the result of our making politics ultimate instead of You. We are serving warring gods, all of whom are false. They cannot deliver on the things they promise. But You can. We repent today for our national idolatry. We repent for seeking hope and help in places where they cannot be found. We repent of putting our own interests ahead of the interests of the people around us. Send the healing and forgiveness of Your Spirit to repair what is broken and unite what is divided once more.
We pray, Father, for the leaders You have seen fit to put in place in our nation. We don’t yet know who those will be, but You already do. You already have Your plans in place and those plans are for the good of Your people. They are for the increase of Your glory which will always be for our joy. Whoever these leaders are, though, our prayer is that You will empower them with Your Spirit and call them to turn their eyes on You as the only true source of the authority they wield. Let them govern and lead with humility and graciousness. Give them the wisdom they need to heal our wounds and lead our nation on a path of life and not destruction.
We pray, too, for Your church. We pray Your church would shine in this season. Empower Your people to proclaim Your Gospel with eloquence and clarity. Let us offer the world around us a clear alternative to the fear and failures of the path away from Your kingdom. Let us do so with kindness as our guide and love as our law. Let Your name be honored by our commitment to unity Christ in spite of our diversity. Let this be a season in which Your kingdom expands and lost souls are saved.
Ultimately, Father, we pray that Your kingdom will come and Your will will be done here on earth just as it is in heaven. We pray for Your Son to return and bring restoration to this earth, ridding us of the brokenness of sin once and for all. For now, though, may Your name be blessed, even in our wrestling and striving by a people who are committed to Your glory no matter what our circumstances happen to be. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name, and for the glory of His eternal kingdom. Amen.