We Have a New President-elect

I awoke this morning to two sounds: “Happy Birthday!” was being extended to my oldest son, Dunning, who turned twelve. The day he was born was election day and Rhonda voted from her hospital bed, recovering from a difficult delivery. The second sound was a question: “Daddy, is our country okay?” This second question came as a result of the election. Rhonda and I had shared with our children some of the larger issues that attracted our attention in this election. What will happen to the family structure and what will happen to the rights of the unborn? Our children were shocked to hear that this country allows people to kill their unborn babies if they don’t want them. “So, you could have killed me before I was born?” was their next question. Children can sometimes see things so clearly.

The Bible and our View of Government Leaders

These issues were paramount in the decision making process at our house and we talked about these issues with our children. Maybe you had your own set of issues that led you to elation or anxiety with the outcome of the election. In any case, we took some time to talk about a Christian’s response. We talked about the sovereignty of God and how there is no government on earth that exists without God’s own appointment. In Romans 13, Paul reminds us that we are to “be subject to the governing authorities” and “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” He also instructs us to “do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he [our president] is God’s servant for your good.” We are instructed to honor and respect our government leaders (whether you voted for them or not).

Anti-Christian Response

I received an email some time ago that suggested Mr. Obama is the antichrist, that we should be terrified, and that we should take steps to destroy his character. Emails and conversations that make such suggestions are themselves anti-Christian. When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he wasn’t living under a Christian or even Christian-friendly government. He was writing while government persecution of Christians was going on. He was living under the same government that the apostle John had in view when he wrote about the activities of the “antichrist” in the book of Revelation. Jesus knew such persecution would come and wrote, “you have heard that it was said ‘hate your enemies,’ but I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Our country does not seize the personal property of Christians, demand that we worship other gods, or throw Christians to the lions. But even if it did and our president was leading the way, we are nontheless called to submit to him (unless he asks us to violate God’s revealed will), pray for him, and seek his peace and prosperity.

Another Perspective – Reconciliation

I received an email this morning from a friend who pastors a church in Louisiana which opened my eyes to a different perspective that I want to encourage you to hear and understand. There are many people in our country that see race taking center stage. They see the election of a black man as a step toward racial healing. (It is true, not too long ago this country as a whole would never have even entertained the notion of a black man running for president.) This friend of mine has met regularly and prayed with a black pastor and public school principal (now retired from both) for two decades. He spoke with his friend last night after Mr. McCain’s concession speech and wrote this about his conversation:

As we talked he began to weep as he told me about how both he and his father had been turned away the first time they had tried to register to vote.  His father was also a Baptist minister and an educated man, and my friend was a college student when he attempted to register the first time.  The registrar in a north Louisiana parish had told them that they did not meet the literacy requirement.

In my friend’s joy, there was an underlying deep grief in his voice as we talked late last night; it was soft, but it was almost a wail.  “I never thought I would live to see this day,” he kept saying.  After a while, we prayed, committed to having lunch together soon and then hung up.

His joy and his sorrow made me reflect on something that I deeply believe to be true:  folks like me, at the deepest level, do not really understand the black experience and never will…

Our Prayer

Perhaps a step toward reconciliation can become a reality as a result of this election. Perhaps we can make this part of our prayer. Perhaps we can pray for reconciliation between the races, reconciliation between spouses and family members, and most of all reconciliation between man and God. Please commit yourself to praying for President-elect Obama, regardless of whether you voted for him or not. This is what God calls us to do as Christians. Amazing things happen when Christians pray. We may not see it, but it is certain. God has ordained the prayers of a righteous man to be powerful and effective, and you are righteous if you are in Christ.

Shalom,
Carter

One Comment On “We Have a New President-elect”

  1. Very well said. Although I personally may not agree with everything Presdent elect Obama decides, I can have peace knowing God is in control of the greater plan. On a positive note, I too think is thrilling to see an African American in the White House and yet another racial barrier removed from our American society. I rejoice in that aspect. He and the country will certainly need many prayers lifted in the coming years. This is one thing Christians can do. We should also stay politically literate and proactive in regards to the issues that matter most to Christians and humanity. Thanks Carter! Kathy Jorgensen

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