The presidential election is coming, and it’s coming soon. Every once in a while, I get asked my thoughts on the election that is looming before the United States this year. And I have to confess that most of the time, I simply don’t know what to say. If someone would have described to me, five years ago, the state of where we find ourselves at this point in history, I would have found it laughable. Because it is so laughable, and in many ways terrifying, I don’t know how to respond. Most of the time I just shake my head because I don’t have the right words.
That’s what I say, or don’t say, to others – but what do I say to myself? What to I say to my own soul when I’m filled with a sense of dread and anxiety about the future? Because the truth is someone is going to talk to my soul. If I’m not actively engaged in talking to myself, feeding myself with biblical truth and encouragement, then someone else will gladly take over.
What do I say to myself in this situation? How do I preach to my own heart and soul in light of what’s happening? If you, like me, are struggling about how to react to what’s happening in this election year, here are five things to consider saying to your own soul:
1. Do not be dismayed.
Dismay is sudden disillusionment. I feel that a lot right now when I consider the impending election. Part of it is because I know, deep in my bones, that an election in a society like ours is a reflection of that society as a whole. If that’s true, then this election is destined to burst any bubbles that are still inflated.
And yet when my soul is tempted to turn toward despair and cynicism, I can remind myself that I have dual citizenship, and my heavenly citizenship supersedes my national citizenship. So, soul, do not be dismayed. Do not lose hope. Here is another opportunity to seek first God’s kingdom in all its various forms.
2. I am wicked but for God’s grace.
Another temptation I find within myself is my ever present propensity toward judgment. I don’t just mean judging of a candidate or two; I mean judging people made in the image of God based on what they say about their voting intentions in this election. Though I might make an argument for what I believe to best and wisest course of action, people will, no doubt, vote according to their own conscience.
That’s where the judgment comes in. In that moment, I can say to my soul not only that a candidate or a voter is created in God’s image just as I am, but that I am wicked apart from God’s grace. I am a lost cause but for His intervention. To see others as somehow worse or more uneducated or most lost than myself is a terribly prideful thing.
3. God alone can save.
Much of our lives is spent vacillating between trusting and relying on different sources. We move between putting our confidence in sometimes God, sometimes ourselves, and sometimes our leaders. This election is a moment for me to preach to my soul that God alone can save. No matter how trustworthy or untrustworthy the leader, the battle ultimately belongs to the Lord. He alone is our rock and salvation.
4. Do not be afraid.
This is a big one for me. When I start thinking about this election, the greatest temptation for me is not dismay, not judgment, not misplaced trust – it’s fear. And that fear expresses itself in hiding. That means my most comfortable reaction is to act like it’s not happening, burying my head in the proverbial sand.
But it is happening, and here is the fourth opportunity for me to preach to my own soul. I can tell myself that I should not be afraid. That I should trust in the Lord. And I can actually openly and honestly participate in the process. I do not have to hide.
November is coming. Regardless of what you say to others in light of the election, make sure you are saying something to yourself.