“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
— Isaiah 55:8-9
Oh how I pray this is so! Because my thoughts suck.
My thoughts go something like this…. How have we gotten to this place? How is it that our only viable candidates in this Presidential election seem like they’ve been plucked right out of the Hunger Games?
How is it that in a democratic society (supposedly the best form of government in the world) we’ve narrowed our playing field down to a two (extremely-opposite) party system and to vote for any intriguing third party candidate is basically like throwing your one hard-won vote away? And who chose these people anyway? Only those who are either Donkeys or Elephants. If you find yourself unable to commit to one of those animals, you don't have a voice until the bitter end.
All these questions swirl as I watch this Presidential election play out in real time. Back in March I was afraid it would come to this, but held out hope we might find a better option. Apparently not.
Debate after debate, I sit on the couch with my children and cringe as the questions and comments come out of the mouths of the two people we have to choose from to be the leader of the free world!
One child asks, “How can we elect Donald Trump for president? I mean, have you SEEN his wife? She’s like 25 years younger than him? I hear he doesn't even respect women."
Another looks perplexed and says, “What does abortion mean?” as she’s listening to Hillary say she’s pro-choice even in late term abortions at the expense of the mother’s life and Donald equates her stance to saying she’s in favor of “ripping the baby out of the womb.”
And still another comments, “Have we always had so much emphasis on fact-checking? How are we supposed to know if anyone is telling the truth if we have to spend time fact-checking everything that comes out of their mouths?”
Good questions, young Jedis.
A common phrase around our house is, "let your yes be yes and your no be no." There's no need to 'promise' or 'swear' because we should say what we mean and mean what we say. We spend a lot of time reminding our kids that "words matter" and spouting my all-time favorite, "you'd better check yourself before you wreck yourself!" None of these supposed role-models are helping.
So what do I do? How do I sift through the chaos and "vote my conscience" when neither one of these candidates is even remotely close. There is a red and white envelope sitting on my kitchen counter, daring me to open it. As of yet, I have not. Voting this year feels like someone just invited me to go back to middle school again. Not in a million years. And yet, puberty is part of growing up. We must endure it to get to the other side. Apparently, I have between now and November 8 to figure it out. (Please don't say vote for Gary Johnson. He just stopped smoking pot to rally for this White House bid.)
Even though Mike Rowe doesn't subscribe to the hashtag #rockthevote, I still plan to do so. I kind of feel like one of the players of Survivor who say they "still don't know who they're voting for" right before tribal council. Too bad our votes in November don't go towards voting someone off the island.
I know many big name people have written about the idea that, no matter who sits on America's throne come January, our hope is still in the One who came to earth to save us from ourselves 2000 years ago. True justice and righteousness will never be found in any earthly system, but in God alone. While none of these candidates can "save our country" the reality is that there are countries out there that are hanging in the balance of this election.
Just the other day, we had the blessing of hanging out with a beautiful older man from Ethiopia. His heart and life come close to modeling that of Jesus himself. At the end of our evening together, the host of the get together asked this man to pray. After blessing Jesus for His extravagant love and saving grace, this man's prayer turned towards praying for America's election process. An Ethiopian man traveled half way around the world to pray for us! He prayed that America would step into its God-given leadership role to be a force for good in this world because if we do not, there are plenty of other countries (think China, Russia...) who are waiting in the wings to take our place at the table. And if that happens, I presume the outcome will be none too pretty.
Listen, human government was never meant to save us. It was meant to placate us.
God has given us what we asked for in the way of kings and judges, but He makes it very clear that His Kingdom is the one of ultimate consequence. Paul tells us God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and the book of Daniel makes reminds us that God is the one who controls the course of world events (2:21), He deposes kings and sets others up.
How will this election turn out? It's anyone's guess. Although if the kids have anything to say about it, we should be expecting our our first female president.
At this last debate the moderator asked Donald Trump if he could accept the election results if he loses. He said he would keep us in suspense. Cue national mic drop. I'm curious why they didn't ask Hillary Clinton the same thing.
And now I might ask the rest of us. Will we be willing to accept the election results no matter what happens?
Might I be so bold as to suggest accepting the election results will be a heck of a lot easier if we know that both of these people are human (just like us) and neither one is our true King? Making America great or "great again" or whatever turn of phrase you you'd like to use, will only happen if we (that means you and me and the whole damn lot of us) humble ourselves and pray -- if we band together in love and respect to be the people this country set out to be.
At the end of the day, let me leave you with this...
"I pray that your LOVE for each other with overflow more and more and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding for I want you to understand what REALLY MATTERS so that you will live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns."
-- Philippians 4:9-10
PS -- Still wondering about the candidate/choices? Check this out.
Are you really making me take a take on this topic? I'm not sure I can be diplomatic about it. I just can't believe that the debates are the real deal and not the Saturday Night Live versions. These debates would be comical if they weren't so scary/sad. What perked me up a bit, was finding out that this guy, Evan McMullin, actually has a 2% outside shot of disrupting the final outcome of the election. I'm in. He's gaining some ground, evidently, and I like what this guy has to say and that he says it in a confident, non-degrading, intelligent fashion. I have wavered a TON about what in the world I would do on election day, but ultimately, I am finding a lot of peace in actually voting for somebody whose name I can speak out loud without cringing. Especially, now that I know, it could even actually make a difference. I'm sure this wasn't a post intended for me or others to vomit, for whom they are voting, but I just lose my ability to filter, when the topic arises. So . . . .who is everyone voting for? Just kidding.
Oh my word. This is making my "election rash" flair up again. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure this out. In general, I have the impression (even though every Hollywood celebrity tells me I'm wrong) that my vote really doesn't count in the grand scheme of things. All of this feels like I'm turning a mirror around so I see myself and all of my warts and flaws more closely - since I am so willing to join the chorus of jeers and sneers about either Hillz or Don. I'm grateful for this word, Megan. Perspective! We need it, don't we?