It’s hard to believe that it was just seven days ago that our nation was shocked by the results of the 2012 presidential election. Few people, who believe in a conservative, moral, principled approach to life and government expected our county to choose the direction it did. But she did. Shocked may even be an understatement for what many, many people felt.
Since then, there has been an endless stream of commentaries, articles, interviews, posts, tweets and discussions in an attempt to determine exactly what happened and why the election turned out the way it did. Processing has been on overload for a solid week now.
For me, I have intentionally avoided the temptation to try and understand all the reasoning behind the results. Though, I must admit, I have given into the temptation a time or two. For me it has been more a thought process of, now that we have this “result” what do we do with it. How do we respond? How do we react? How do we go on from here and move forward?
I have come to the conclusion that for a follower of Jesus the answer is really the same no matter who ended up as the election winner. I believe our future direction is really not determined by who occupies the White House. It is determined by the God we serve. So this is how it all shakes down for me. This is my game plan for dealing with the results of this election and the next and next and next.
Pray Unceasingly: The first and foremost action is to saturate my life with prayer. I intend on declaring my absolute dependence on God every day, not politicians, programs or pundits. I will seek Him for my wisdom and direction as well as security. In His Word I will find my instructions for life decisions. When worry threatens me I will cry out to the Lord. When life is going well still I will cry out to the Lord.
Trust Completely: since I am going to turn to God at all times I am going to trust that He will hear and answer my prayers. Sometimes I find it hard to believe some of the things I see as being His answers, but I will trust that it is because He is God and I am not. For example, on the night before election day I claimed and posted the words of Paul in Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” believing that it was time for a change at the top. Since then I have come to believe that God just might have answered that prayer by not making a change. In so doing, He might be saying to our President, “You are mostly responsible for creating this mess, now you have to deal with it. I’m not letting you off the hook.” I am trusting that God’s ways are much better than mine.
Serve Diligently: people are still hurting, needs are still everywhere, emotional issues still need a caring ear and arms, physical crisis still happen and I can have a real and lasting part in meeting some of them. Jesus, our courageous leader, came to this earth to serve, not be served. He calls me to the same and it doesn’t matter which political party is in the majority, I will still be devoted to serving the needs of others.
Love Unconditionally: this is a tough one especially when you are highly disturbed with the direction of our country and you just don’t want to extend love, especially to certain people. But I am reminded that is what love is. Love is doing what is best for others even when you don’t feel like it. Love is allowing your obedience to direct you rather than your feelings. That’s exactly what Jesus did on the cross. Did he want to die such a cruel and painful death? No! He actually asked God if he had another way, but did what was necessary, in spite of His feelings to the contrary. I am going to resist allowing my feelings to dictate my actions and instead be obedience motivated.
Plan Accordingly: learn a lesson from the ant. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Prov 6:6,8 The ant, as small and insignificant as it seems to be, is wise enough to plan for the future. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made it to ignore the inevitable.
Life as we know it will not continue over the next few years and perhaps never again in America. Almost everything will cost you more. The projection is that fuel costs will rise 20-40% over the next four years along with everything else that depends on fuel. You will see changes in the health care field that will challenge your faith and patience. Plan accordingly.
I do not intend on looking back in four years and asking, “What happened?” I know, to a large extent, what is going to happen and am planning accordingly. For example, as a result of the redistribution of wealth plan, from the top down in government, and the cost of everything going up, my wife and I are seriously looking at downsizing our house. We are planning accordingly by developing and implementing a strategy that best fits us.
Shine Brightly: believe it or not, with all the disappointing news that we anticipate in the future we have been handed an unprecedented opportunity, as followers of Jesus, to shine brightly. We live in a dark, dark world that is going to get darker and darker at an accelerated rate.
But here’s the silver lining or the bright spot, where there is darkness the light shines even brighter. In fact, the darker the darkness the brighter the light shines. God said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” (2 Cor 4:6-10) Our call, as well as mandate, is to shine brightly in the midst of all the darkness.
The passage in 2 Corinthians goes on to describe what seems to be our day, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Be sure, it is going to get worse, however, no matter how dark it gets, light always penetrates darkness with amazing results.
So you say, “How can this be in our culture when the future seems to be so hopeless?” The answer is, by praying unceasingly, trusting completely, serving diligently, loving unconditionally, and planning accordingly. Then, and only then, will we shine brightly. Don’t wait for another four years in hopes that things will get better. They might not. Seize the moment now.