There’s been plenty over the last few days – weeks – months to cause anxiety.
Real things, important things. It is True, whether I believe it or not, but still: I believe that God is sovereign, is good, is perfect beyond our understanding… Lord I do believe, help my unbelief … but it has been a constant picking up and obediently striving to put back down the worry. Do not worry, He keeps telling His people in every circumstance, but it’s so easy to worry. So tempting.
And once I’m worrying, I can worry a LOT. About a lot of stuff.
Over the last few days, the worry I’ve been trying not to carry about the dear and the beloved and the personal – thank you God for all You have done and all You will do – has occasionally spilled over into the election news.
It’s hard to even articulate how stupid that feels, but occasionally it has been an actual, unexpected angst about what happens if…
I know I am not alone in feeling that way. I don’t even have to say which candidate’s potential to win causes me the most anxiety, because it’s so pervasive and universal that it doesn’t even matter. I know and love people who are prone to the exact same level of anxiety about the other major candidate. I understand and respect their position, even if I have landed in another place…
It has been loud and rancorous, and it is terribly tempting to be afraid of what comes next.
I catch myself in the midst of the worry though, because really, none of my hope lies in any of these candidates. Or any other potential candidate, today tomorrow or ever.
Remembering that brings me back to a more peaceful position: God is in control.
So, I don’t know what comes next for our country. I am praying that our next team of leaders will lead wisely, with wisdom from above whether they ask for it or not (though I hope they will). I am praying that our people will stay engaged in the stuff of citizenship after the election, to continue to push our new president and new elected officials at every level, to set aside “what our party wants” in favor of what is good and right and helpful for the people they represent and indeed the whole nation. I am praying that discussions that are taking place, about the future of our country, about our cyber security, about our alliances, about how we guard our nation, and how we equip and support the men and women who defend us, and about how we protect the weakest in our society, will be guided by truth and wisdom. I hope we continue to have discussions – productive as well as compassionate discussions – about how we help our police to be part of our communities and help and equip them to operate in safety and at the highest standards of conduct for the good of ALL citizens… how we change hearts and minds and systems so that people of color – particularly black Americans at this moment in history – don’t feel targeted, singled out, and endangered by systems that should be for the protection of every citizen and every member of our society, including themselves… how we continue toward a day when women’s experience will not, just as standard operating procedure, include minimizing the ways in which we’re objectified, subtly threatened, or “just” pressured to be less than God made us and calls us to be so that men won’t feel threatened or undermined — and yet in a way that doesn’t vilify men and masculinity either, but honors both halves of humanity, in all their God-given glory. (I think if nothing else, no matter who wins, doors have been opened for us as a society to choose to talk about these issues afresh, and if we take that opportunity as a society, to actually talk about the issues and hear each other rather than shout and point fingers and fight with one another, it would only be a good thing.)
But I don’t see how we can get there if God does not work in our spirits to change us and lead us and empower and embolden us to work together to His purposes.
Anyway, I don’t agree fully with either of the major candidates – I don’t know anyone who does except maybe the candidates themselves – but I voted this morning. I did the best I could with the limited perspective I have. It IS limited, make no mistake; I know that all too well. And I don’t know who will win tonight. I don’t know if we’ll have a clear winner or if this is going to drag out into another recount nightmare.
But unless Jesus comes back before then, we WILL have a new president.
If it’s Trump, I hope he will listen to wise council and hold true to his promise to work for the people rather than himself, and be an agent of change to break what needs breaking in order to fix our government (though I hope he will do it with thoughtfulness; there is a vast difference between demolishing a bathroom to remodel it, in a house that has nine other working bathrooms available vs. a one-bathroom apartment). But if he becomes president, I hope he will consider the big picture when making decisions about the supreme court and immigration and our military and our alliances around the world; I hope he will represent ALL the people, and not one small segment of the population. I hope “make America great again” can mean “for all Americans, of every color and every background and every walk of life.”
If it’s Clinton, I hope she (and really, all career politicians) will take seriously the fact that Mr. Trump gained this following and while there are some really undesirable thought processes behind it for some people, a healthy number of his followers are every day people who have real directional concerns that need to be addressed, and some who just don’t want to see “business as usual” anymore. I think that’s true of a lot of America, regardless of their vote: we are tired of government that is gridlocked in a partisan war that holds us hostage and we are tired of special interests that don’t represent our interests and we want to see change. If she becomes president, I hope she will consider the future of her grandchild (and my nieces, and your children) as she considers policies that impact our future, our society, and our safety. I hope “better together” can mean across party lines, across the gender divide, across racial lines and socioeconomic divisions and every other social construct of separation that allows us to walk around with the false impression that we are not all fundamentally the same: Human.
Designed by, made in the image of, and imbued with value by God.
I don’t know what is to come, following this election. But there is a God in heaven, and He is good. And because of that, I have hope.