November 10, 2016 – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Franklin Roosevelt famously declared in his first inaugural address. President Roosevelt was speaking of economic fears, fear of war, and fear of the unknown. His words ring just as true today, when our country is gripped by division, and mistrust is at a fever pitch.
Over the past weeks, voters have questioned the honesty of the highest levels of government, and our presidential candidates have slung no end of mud at each other. And now, in the aftermath of the election, supporters of Donald Trump are crowing about their victory, and supporters of Hillary Clinton are stunned.
Whether or not we support or oppose President-elect Trump, we must not trust blindly in the powers of this world.
But the issue now is not so much who won and who lost, but how we move forward. We must work together as Americans, not work apart as Republicans or Democrats. And unless we resolve to unite for what is right, the drastic polarization of our country ensures that uncertainty will continue to dominate our lives and our headlines. While the divisions in our country have been drawn into sharp contrast by the election season, this gives us an opportunity to find ways to bridge the divide with prayer – and by showing love and compassion.
And whether or not we support or oppose President-elect Trump, we must not trust blindly in the powers of this world. While many voters I talked to spoke of choosing “the lesser of two evils,” they forgot that as Christians, our mandate is actually to “flee from every kind of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). We are called to put our confidence not in the authority of earthly powers but in God, our true commander-in-chief, who will establish his kingdom on this earth in his time (Isa. 9:6).
We are called to put our confidence in God, our true commander-in-chief.
It is foretold that God will use human events of history and shape them for his purpose and will. Therefore, rather than yielding to anxiety about the future, let us instead place our trust in God; Jesus tells us that we should remain faithful and stand firm to the end, even as the wickedness in this world increases (Matt. 24:12–13).
With the coming of Thanksgiving in just a few weeks, let’s remember the power of community, the joy of fellowship around the table, and the strength of our common ground as Americans, and as people created by God, citizens of a future kingdom (Phil. 3:20).
And as we approach Advent and then Christmas, let us also remember the first words of the angel to Mary, and also of the angels to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid.” This is the message that we need to share with our families, our friends, and our neighbors. Rather than give in to fear, we must be a people of hope, girded with the armor of God, gripped by the joy and the expectation of the future reign of God’s kingdom.
Photograph by Modestas Urbonas/unsplash.