This week, the capital was broken into by a politically motivated mob.
The new year came, and I was hoping that with it would come more peace.
Because last year, because of political riots, we saw cities (our own!) burning. Set aflame by anarchists bent on personal gain, while politicians stood by and encouraged it.
Horrific violence has come from the left. Heinous violence has also come from the right.
When surrounded by enemies on both sides, who do we put our trust in? When all those who are supposed to save us turn out to be immoral goons, who remains trustworthy?
Thank God, we have the person of Jesus and the words of Scripture to give us stability and courage in the midst of upheaval.
Because Scripture says, “For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” – Psalm 47:7-8
That means that from Trump’s inauguration, successes, and failures, to Biden’s future inauguration, successes, and failures, God is the one truly pulling the strings.
Nothing that will happen in the next days, weeks, months, years, will surprise him, although it will almost certainly surprise us.
And no matter what happens, none of it is outside his ability to bend it all to his good purposes.
Yet still, through history, he has encouraged his followers to pray for peace, for a quiet life that is honorable in every way, and for relief from persecution and suffering.
Part of the way he gets us there is through his commands to pray for those in power, especially the ones we disagree with.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48
So, after we pray for those in power, and for peace and protection and comfort in difficult times, what do we do?
Well, he tells us through the words of the Apostle Paul to:
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. … Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5-11
How do we aim for restoration? By acting in ways that build bridges, rather than burning them! By praying for one another, by seeking to understand others’ perspectives, and by seeking to align ourselves completely to God, so that by default we will agree, because we will hold to the fundamentals of what is most important to God himself.
When we live in such humility and open love toward others, we will be able to live in peace, because we will no longer have any reason for violence.
Surrender and conformity to the Gospel is the way God has chosen to reform the world. This is why God is the only hope we have in this life to experience a portion of the unity, joy, love, and purity we will have in the next life. This is why he tells us to make living in conformity to the Gospel, and sharing about God with others, our main goal in life.
We will never excise the evil from humans by campaigning for political reform. And since we only have so many years of life, the Spirit constrains us to share the good news of what will excise the evil from humans.
By living in that way, we live by trust in him. Confident that he will change the world through our small obedience and surrender. That he has the power to pull back the veil of darkness that seems to be sweeping our country. Not giving into fear, but rather letting him strengthen us to live worthy of the calling he’s put on our lives as his children, not because of any good in us, but because he loved us and earned our love and obedience in response.
That’s called faith.
And faith shakes nations.
Holy Spirit, strengthen us to live the Gospel, and to share it with others! Keep our minds and tongues from getting entangled in hopeless political squabbles. Instead, deliver us into the freedom you have for us, in your power and endless life as the risen Lord. Encourage our hearts. Comfort our sorrow. Help us to trust you more than we distrust the evil men and women who are a part of leading our country. And we pray for them, that you will work in their hearts, and bring them to repentance and to dependence on you! Guide them into making choices that work for your glory. Amen.
For one week, don’t let yourself watch the news or get into any political arguments with anyone. Just walk away, and instead focus your mind on the trustworthiness, strength, and consistency of God, and the hope he promises us of freedom in this life, and a new life of perfect purity in the next.