Is the President awful, or what!
I, along with my close circle of friends and relatives, all went to our respective polling places with relative confidence. As Election Day approached, we had talked politics over meals, at the water cooler, during casual phone calls, and any other places where small talk is made. Practically all our peers were of one accord; our candidate had a good chance of winning. Thank goodness!
But, during that fateful evening, as we watched the election returns come in, I couldn’t believe the results. Maybe the exit polls were wrong. I had this sinking feeling in my gut: that our nation was in trouble. What were those other people thinking? Had they lost their minds? Couldn’t they see through all the flowery campaign rhetoric? As with practically all candidates before him, he mostly railed against his predecessor and offered hope and prosperity for the future if he was elected. He could and would soon rid us of all the perils he had inherited.
After this new ‘leader of the free world’ settled into his lofty new position, many of our worst fears were realized. The campaign promises became distant memories. We had strong feelings that this newly elected president was going to sink like a rock and take our beloved USA down with him. This was a sad day for America. Those of us who opposed his presidency began jokingly quoting the Scripture, “Let his days be few; Let another take his office (Psalm 109:8 NASB)”. Hardy, Har Har! Yet, deep in our hearts, we wished this to be true.
Hmmm, thinking back, this is not the first nor the only time I had these severely negative feelings about our elected officials. I could have written this little essay several times during and after previous campaign cycles. Perhaps, I could have written it a couple times when (Gulp!) ‘my guy’ won. As we look back at history, very few presidents deserve having their images added to those already carved on Mount Rushmore.
Of course, this is not unique to our good ole USA—not by a long shot! This is an age-old problem, both here and abroad, both past and present. We can name nation after nation, empire after empire, kingdom after kingdom, regime after regime where their rulers misled the people over whom they had authority. (Sadly, this dilemma might even occur in our churches). Many have led their people into total disarray. We would often conclude that good and noble leaders are quite a rarity. Even little Israel, ‘God’s Chosen People’, had more than their fair share of evil kings. Casual students of the Scriptures would be hard pressed to name any of their good kings, other than Kings David, Solomon, and Hezekiah. Some may not have even realized that Hezekiah was a king.
So why has Almighty God allowed these people with seemingly wrong motives, to rule over us? Was He having a bad day during those election cycles? Did He make a mistake? Was He asleep at the wheel and take a wrong turn? Let me introduce you to a little known Scripture for some answers. But, I must warn you; this Scripture is really hard to swallow. It wasn’t one of my favorite Scriptures when I first discovered it, nor is it now. But here it is. The apostle Paul declares to those early Christians who were being terribly oppressed by the Roman emperor, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God (Rom 13:1 KJV).” Whoa, did we read that right? Are all our leaders, past, present and future, ordained by God? Even the bad ones? Evidently! According to that, whoever gains authority over us is God’s man for the season; and we are to subject ourselves to them. Hard to believe, but that ‘s what our Scriptures would dictate. Hmmm, since that’s the case, I must admit that it’s going to require a radical attitude adjustment on my part. (Thank goodness we are not required to like them—only to subject ourselves to them.)
We should also take note that it was always during times when things were going well that Israel lost sight of God and drifted away from Him. They were notorious for that. In each case God necessarily subjected them to oppressive kings in order to put them on their knees and bring them back to Him. Perhaps there is a lesson in there for all of us. Instead of railing against our leaders, it may be time to stop and take inventory of our own allegiances and priorities. Have we also lost sight of Almighty God and drifted away from Him? Do we, as a corporate nation, wink at adultery; do we accept lies as a necessary evil in order to achieve our goals; do we consider the killing of unborn babies as a viable method of birth control; do we embrace homosexuality as an acceptable alternate lifestyle? Is it possible that our current president hit the nail on the head when he declared that America was no longer a ‘Christian’ nation? Have we actually become a pagan nation? Even though we bristled mightily at the mere suggestion, he may have had a point; he may have inadvertently issued a wake up call to all of us; He may have been unknowingly echoing God’s words to us.
Thus, when the storms hit us and the ill winds blow, whether physical, political or economic, we must never forget that God is still in control. In spite of how dark and dismal things may seem to be, we must always remember that our loving God has a perfect plan, and He is working it out. When the ‘physician’ is removing a cancerous growth, it hurts! But, in the process He “causes all things to work together for good to those of us who love Him, to those of us who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)”. Even though we may not be able to see any good from our present vantage point, nevertheless, that hopeful promise is still there and always will be! PTL!