This presidential election has most of my evangelical friends in hysterics—and I totally understand why. I refuse to join the ranks of those who use their platforms to bash the candidates, but I will say it’s a bit terrifying contemplating the type of character that might soon be leading and representing our country. What global-political wildfires might be set aflame by the offhanded comments of a hotheaded Commander in Chief? To what further degree might our culture’s conscience decay if we have yet another President who promotes the atrocity of abortion and gross sexual immorality? I mean, how lost are we already that the vast majority of our society would voluntarily support the campaigns of such people?
I totally understand the uproar among my fellow Christians. They are afraid—we are afraid. However, though it might be our natural inclination to shrivel up in anxiety when we gaze into the possible future of this nation, I don’t think that’s the right reaction. I don’t think our joy and peace is supposed to be dictated by America’s political climate. And when I open up that Book I profess to be absolute truth, I’m pretty sure its Author doesn’t think so either.
I don’t believe God wants his church to be apathetic about America’s not-so-bright trajectory or to be passively silent in the political process. I think he desires us to do all we can, within our rights, to seek the welfare of our nation (Jeremiah 29:7). However, I am pretty confident he wants us to put way more focus and energy into the building of Christ’s Kingdom than into the preservation and betterment of the United States. But this is where we run into a problem, don’t we? If we patriots were all completely honest with ourselves, many of us would probably admit that, to some level, we equate the Kingdom of God with the United States of America.
An article I read a couple of years ago stated that gray-haired evangelicals tend to view America as the Promised Land, while skinny-jean-wearing evangelicals tend to view America as Babylon. I think this observation is true. I am among those who see America—and this entire world—as Babylon (though I don’t wear skinny jeans), but I do understand the perspective of my elder brothers and sisters. There has never been a nation in the history of the world to be so largely (even if nominally) “Christian” as America. The last two and a half centuries have been an incredible era of blessing and freedom, and I can sympathize with those who have perhaps subconsciously grown to feel like this is the heavenly bliss for which Jesus died. They—we—have grown so comfortable in the ease, abundance, and freedom of this nation, and we feel like if we lose these things, we lose everything. This is why the 2016 Presidential Election is ransacking our peace and joy. This is why we are in a frenzy.
No matter how comfortable this world might be sometimes—and we’ve been real comfortable in America for a while—it is not the place of our true citizenship. I know we hear that all the time, and we say we believe it, but do we really? Do we primarily view ourselves as aliens and exiles (1 Peter 2:11)? Are we really looking forward to the heavenly country to come (Hebrews 11:16)? Or do we view ourselves primarily as Americans and put all our hope in the United States being our heaven on earth?
We shouldn’t be longing ultimately for the preservation and prosperity of our earthly country, but for the heavenly country wherein is our true citizenship (Philippians 3:20). We shouldn’t be placing our ultimate hope in a President who will maintain our present comforts and freedoms, but in the Son of God who gives us eternal comfort and freedom.
I hope every believer falls on his or her face and pleads with God to grant us a good leader who will work to preserve our present blessings and freedoms. But if God has other plans—and he just might—let’s fight to truly believe America, even in its best days, has never been anything compared to what God has planned for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9)!
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” – Hebrews 13:14