Are you ready for Thursday?
Elections and voting have changed a lot in the last 20 years. At least it seems that way to me. Since we were out of the country for 15 years, we notice a distinct difference in the climate and processes around voting.
The biggest change, without a doubt, is the use of technology to count ballots. What used to be an hours-long endurance event is now concluded quickly after the polls close. The second biggest change is how the “issues” or platform of an election are really no longer about philosophical or ideological issues. It seems the only “issue” that is debated is the economic benefit of “Plan A” over “Plan B.”
Nonetheless, we are fortunate to live in a society where we can engage in the political process. Democracy does offer great advantages even though it is not perfect. As Winston Churchill quipped, “Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others.”
Essentially, democracy is crowed-sourced wisdom. It is a great idea if you have a wise crowd. We know from experience that isn’t always the case.
Fortunately, the following quote is also true:
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants (Prov.. 21:1 NET).
Whatever happens on Thursday, the elected officials are not functioning in complete autonomy. Some people will be very happy on Friday morning. Some will be very frustrated. There will be winners and there will be losers. It isn’t perfect.
And God will still be on His throne.
A quick survey of political leaders documented in the Scriptures affirm this. Our sample size covers thousands of years. It is unlikely these observations will be influenced by small, regional blips or anomalies. Consider Abraham, Kedorlaomer (Gen. 14), Joseph, Pharaoh, David, Solomon and everyone after him, Nebuchadnezzar, Ceasar Augustus, Nero . . . You can add your own list of names here. All of them served - usually unwittingly - the divine purpose. None of them thwarted God’s plans. Nothing has changed.
Please, do vote this week. If you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to complain - and that’s a good reason to vote. More importantly, in our era of human history God has given us a unique stewardship opportunity to engage in the governance process. How well that process works or doesn’t work (a matter of perspective) is irrelevant. This is a question of being a good steward of the opportunities God gives us. If you don’t know who to vote for or believe there are no good options, cast an empty ballot.
Have no fear. The processes and purposes of God are not controlled by our democratic systems. Of this we can be sure: whoever wakes up on Friday morning with the duty of public office is there by divine appointment. That is why Paul encouraged us:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God's appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1 NET).
Together, let’s commit to faithful stewardship: the politician may be the object of our vote but God is the object of our trust.