It will all be over soon. The TV ads. The random calls and texts to our phones. Many of us will breathe a sigh of relief when we lay our heads on the pillows tonight simply because it’s over. At least for a while.
Because it’s here – election day. Perhaps we will never see something like this again – a midterm election in which the lines stretched around buildings. I early voted a week and a half ago, and even then, the line was 25 deep first thing in the morning. And now here we are. Many of us will be watching our timelines, the news, the early reports to see the final results of what’s happening in this nation.
I know many will write eloquently about this election. No doubt there will be posts in the similar vain as this going up all over the interwebs as we speak. But as long as you’re here, on this post, for a few minutes, I wanted to share with you a few things I’m telling myself today. Specifically, I wanted to share 4 things NOT to do on this election day:
1. Do not stay home.
If you have not voted, then go vote. Do not stay home. Do not succumb to the temptation of laziness or apathy. Do not believe that it doesn’t matter if you vote or not. I’m not naive enough to suggest that your singular vote will make the difference in this election, but as a Christian, that’s not really the larger point. The larger point is that if you are in the United States right now, and you are a citizen of the United States, your vote in this election is an issue of stewardship. The Lord has seen fit to place you at this moment, in this place, with the authority that you have. So do not stay home. Be a steward of the rights and privileges provided to you.
2. Do not cease to rejoice.
Verses like Philippians 4:4-6 were written for days like this: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
I don’t know who you voted for. Your candidate may win; they might not. Regardless of which candidates win and who is in power, they will be imperfect in their wisdom, humility, and ability to govern. That’s why this command is so relevant. This command to rejoice was written to you, regardless of who you supported in the voting booth. Rejoice, Christian, for no matter who is in power on earth there is a perfect King over all. Rejoice, Christian, for this King sets up rulers and deposes them as He sees fit. Rejoice, Christian, for no matter who carries the day your name is written in the book of life. Always rejoice, for earthly leaders will come and go, but the steadfast love of the Lord goes on forever.
3. Do not divide the church.
There will be a temptation today to cast all kinds of blame for all kinds of things. The sons and daughters of God might well devolve into a bad version of a contentious holiday gathering in which the subtext of this election lingers over every conversation. “If only you had voted this way or that, we would not be in this mess now…”
Election day is here, at long last, and when we wake up tomorrow, we will have to live. And we have an opportunity as the church to now, at this point, put aside pettiness and preference for the greater purpose of the extension of the gospel. And now matter who sits in power at the end of the day, there will be ample opportunity for that:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:1-3).
4. Do not cease to pray.
Our prayer lives ebb and flow according to circumstance. That being the case, there has been quite a bit of prayer regarding this election over the past few months, and here we are. Whatever this day brings, one thing it should not result in is prayerlessness. Fatalism. Resignation. May it not be so. May the fervency in prayer with which you and I have approached this decision point be equaled by the fervency in prayer leading out of it, for surely there are many, many things that require our attention and devotion in prayer.
At the time of this writing, we do not yet know the results of the election, but we do know that we are commanded to intercede for whoever those people are:
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Don’t stay home. Don’t cease to rejoice. Don’t divide the church. Don’t cease to pray. By God’s grace, there will be a Wednesday after this Tuesday. And until that is not so any more, there is much for us to do – and to do with joy, and to do together in the church.