“The heart of the king is in the Lord’s hand. He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1
Last summer, after the political conventions were over, the Lord showed me that the two choices being offered to the American people were, on one hand, a judgement on our nation or, on the other, an opportunity to obtain mercy. (He did not tell me how it all was going to come out.) Indeed, it all hinged on how God’s people, the Christians in this land, behaved. Both candidates had lived godless lives, lacked personal integrity and character, and were the exact opposite of the kind of person that should be chosen to become the leader of our people. Yet there was a marked difference between them: One had chosen hostility and hatred towards God and Christians, the other was just a bugger-head heathen. One, if elected, would almost certainly be a catalyst for open persecution of Christians within the borders of this nation. The other – well, there was opportunity for God to work, that’s about all that can be said. The opportunity for mercy did not rest with the character of whichever person was elected. The choice between judgement or mercy would be determined by how we Christians behaved. Would we react to the godless character of our new president with mockery and vilification or, humbling ourselves under God’s choices for us, would we choose to support the victor with prayer, extending Christ’s unconditional love and seeking his/her redemption?
Since I cast my first vote in the mid-1970’s, I have yet to see the Christian church – those people claiming Christ as savior – truly behave toward elected officials in a righteous manner. Instead we forget that the things that are important to the Kingdom of God are accomplished “not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). It is by prayer and by the extension of unconditional love to even the worst of sinners that we see things accomplished for Christ. That includes the redemption of a nation. It also includes the teaching of a president (and all other political leaders) the way that God would have him walk. Tell me, how is any sinner won to the Lord? It is not when we mock him for every little thing he does wrong. It is not when we heap condemnation on his head when he does harm to us. When we vilify him, call him “evil” or append negative adjectives to him, we are not drawing him to Christ. A person is drawn to Christ when, in the face of wrongdoing, forgiveness is extended. A person is drawn to the Lord when the person wronged, stands between the wrongdoer and just retribution. A person is drawn to Jesus when we do as Jesus commanded – we love our enemies.
Tell me, those of you reading this who claim Christ, how did we behave toward President Obama during the past four years? The list is long of his offenses against Christ and Christians. Go back and think through how the Christian community has dealt with those offenses. Do you see forgiveness being extended? Do you see the Christian community (I’m speaking of true, Bible-believing servants of Christ here) standing between him and the just and natural consequences of his decisions and policies? In many ways he made himself our enemy – do you see expressions of love toward him? Perhaps some few did, but most of us mocked, vilified and condemned. We spoke evil of the leader of our people (Exodus 22:28). How shameful!
I saw no Christian consensus during the last election. Many simply decided that they could not vote for either candidate. Yet, regardless of how we voted, now is our great opportunity to obtain mercy from God! Now is the time to stand up and reflect Christ! Donald Trump won the election. Some are claiming that he has accepted Christ – perhaps, perhaps not. Time will tell. His past is full of foolishness and vice. Will we mock him for it? Will we call him names, vilifying and condemning him? Will we repeat the same reprehensible behavior we displayed toward Barak Obama? Or will we, in contrast, stand in the gap for Donald Trump, interceding for his good, asking God to interdict the consequences of bad decisions and seeking the Lord to give him wisdom, even if wisdom isn’t being sought by him? Will we pray that our president be protected from the corruption to which such great political power makes one vulnerable?
I tell you this – and here I believe I am speaking by the Holy Spirit – the destiny of this nation and our right to live and practice our Christian faith in peace does not rest with Donald Trump! It does not rest with Congress or a Supreme Court packed with conservative appointees. It rests with the Christians of this nation and will be determined by how we pray, whether or not we will behave righteously toward the man God has appointed to lead us and whether we will choose to look to Him for our help. You decide.