“I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:4)
God spoke this prophecy about the Israelites, warning them of the correction that would come if they continued living as they had been, with hearts turned away from Him. When I read that verse now, I can’t help but think it applies to us, too. The problem is that I can’t wrap my mind around how, exactly. Does it apply to Biden’s dementia? Or perhaps Trump’s temperament?
On Presidents’ Day, I’m sharing this post because I know a lot of people who are still wringing their hands over the last election – maybe because of who won / didn’t win, maybe because of the process.
I didn’t vote for either man, but I was still disappointed in the election. It’s probably not a surprise that I typically vote Republican only because – for the most part – they still keep God around. And however misinformed or misguided some of their ideas may be at times, (again, in general) they at least recognize His authority.
Click here for the Republican Party Platform. It’s from 2016; they didn’t update it for 2020. (Number of times the word “God” is used: 16, out of 66 pages.)
Click here for the Democratic Party Platform. (Number of times the word “God” is used: 1, out of 92 pages.)
In this past election, though, it was hard to tell “which side God was on.” While I don’t want to get into the particular Christian “shortcomings” of either man, (it’s not my place, and it’s not the intent of this blog), I want to point out the relevant words of a slightly more senior former president: Abraham Lincoln. Someone had asked him about God’s “role” in the Civil War, and he replied, “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
In a post released just before the election, I pointed out that “God could easily work in the hearts of people to turn out a few thousand [voters] in key districts and sway the election any way He chooses.” Lo and behold, Mr. Biden, who did virtually no campaigning, and with a running mate who almost never polled above single digits in the Democratic National Convention (he, himself was at one point struggling to keep his campaign alive), managed to sweep more votes than any president in history… by about 7 million. Twelve million more votes than Obama’s second term.
Maybe, despite how I thought it all should happen, my prayers that God would give us “the President He wanted us to have” were answered. Maybe God ushered Biden into the White House just as He ushered David into the King’s Palace in Jerusalem, defying odds and pulling off miracles. David was a shepherd, the youngest of eight boys. God picked him to not only replace a corrupt and ungodly King Saul, the first king of Israel, but to also bring forth the Messiah. What an honor. And David was far from perfect: murder, adultery, arrogance, polygamy… David wasn’t the first man God raised up. Remember Joseph, of the Technicolor Dreamcoat variety? God even took him from a slave and made him into the second most powerful man in Egypt, which was the most powerful country in the known world at the time. So maybe, I just need to sit the heck down and enjoy my bowl of crow as the candidate of the party that supports, well, this stuff was more in God’s favor than the candidate of the party that supports this stuff.
According to AP Votecast, 50% of Catholics voted for Trump; 49% voted for Biden.
But then, I hear about the fraud. And there was A LOT of coverage, but not by the channels most people look to for information. (Here’s a thorough, easy-to-read compilation of it. It’s 36 pages, and for what it is, I found the rhetoric surprisingly calm.) Whether it was legal, verifiable “fraud” or not, there was a lot of shadiness going on, and I have a tough time attributing a miracle to God if it has to come through shady means.
In the Catholic church, Canonization, or the process of becoming a saint, is an incredibly thorough ordeal. The would-be saint must have performed two miracles, both withstanding scientific scrutiny. This process contains exhaustive research, interviews, tons of documentation, and get this: transparency. Why? So people have faith in the process and know that no one is being canonized on a whim, or for some other nefarious purpose.
A Rasmussen poll shows that almost half the voters think the election was a sham, and they’re not all on the side that lost. One in three Democrats believe the election was stolen.
So in a situation like this, where sunshine is usually heralded as the best disinfectant, what utterly amazed me during this process was the universal gaslighting that took place after the election. No discussion about any voting irregularities, and anyone who raised their hand to question was labeled a conspiracy theorist and shut down online, which is really the modern-day equivalent of being run out of town on a rail. Even in the courts where lawyers attempted to present this evidence, they were regularly spurned – not because the evidence was bogus, but because the lawyers lacked standing, or over a jurisdictional issue. As one of Trump’s attorney’s pointed out, “our evidence has never been refuted, only ignored.” Compound that with Team Biden setting up “the Office of the President Elect,” a first in US history, as if to sweep everything under the rug and normalize his “victory” as soon as possible. Why go through that marketing exercise? Shouldn’t the truth be enough? Unless they were trying to hide something…
As it turns out, everyone who was shouted down as a “conspiracy theorist” was actually on to something. Time recently published an article detailing all the “behind the scenes” forces that worked together to remove Trump from office and elect Biden. The article is titled “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” and it’s a deep explanation of the secret public and private partnerships that worked to influence the recent election. Interestingly enough, it’s not written as fodder for conspiracy theorists; it’s written as praise of the people who successfully manipulated the election and want to be recognized for it. Notably, the article omits the suitcases of ballots smuggled into voting centers and truckload of ballots that crossed state lines late at night.
I read this and resigned. What surprised me was not that the elites tipped an election, but how they did it. It wasn’t just “we think you should vote for this candidate,” but a lot of Goebbels-level information control. With this many (powerful) forces working together to shape an election, who could honestly stand up against it? And more importantly, how long do you think it’ll take before this group (or one like it) realizes that they, in fact, have the political power and not the people?
Does that sound vaguely familiar? Some would argue that it’s been happening for decades. And honestly, why would a reigning political party fix a “broken” election process? Even admitting that it was broken would put those in charge at risk of losing their jobs.
Okay, so, news flash: American politics are… “tainted.” Gee, imagine that.
So what next? Overthrow the government? In a prior post (Did God Elect Donald Trump?), I pointed out that:
“major institutions, like the US government, were raised by God. Not my opinion… God’s word. Check out Romans 13:1: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” As Christians, we’re supposed to respect their authority and obey their laws, even if we disagree with them. (Remember when Jesus was asked if it was right to pay financial tribute to Rome or to give the money to the poor? He responded by saying “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Matthew 22: 15-22)
Alright, so a full-on rebellion is out of the question. How about following the precedent of the Seattle Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone? Can we just break free and set up our own government?
1 Peter 2:13-14 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”
Shoot. What else? How about all those “Resist” signs that were so popular for the last few years?
Romans 13:2 “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Crap. Running out of options here… Maybe I take a page from the early 2000’s and the popular “not my president” T-shirts and bumper stickers?
Titus 3:1-2 “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
I guess that rules out trashing politicians on social media, too… Oh, heck. I give up. I’ll just sit and sulk for the next four years. Then, in all honesty, probably sulk for another four.
One of the biggest challenges that I (and a lot of Christians) struggle with is that God doesn’t do things the way we think He should do them. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
And, man, it’s a good thing God doesn’t take direction from me – I’d have wrecked the whole thing years ago. As I first came to terms with the fact that God knew better than I did, I’d often just laugh and say, “I wouldn’t have done it this way.” But then, I started looking at things in the world as though they were a movie that you know will have a happy ending. You watch things get bad, you watch the villain seem to trap the good guy, and everything looks hopeless until… Wow! something great happens and the good guy ends up on top. And the more hopeless, dire, and insurmountable the problem seems to be in the movie, the more beautiful, rewarding, and amazing the feeling when “good” finally prevails. As we watch this “movie” of real-life go on around us, it’s a great comfort to realize that “the bigger the challenge, the bigger the miracle.”
Even at the absolute extreme – Adolf Hitler leading Germany’s attempted extermination of the Jews – look at what happened afterwards: a 2,700 year old prophecy was fulfilled that brought the nation of Israel back into their homeland in one day. (Isaiah 66:8) “Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” And on May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation. Despite one of Satan’s best efforts (up till then) to eliminate God’s chosen people, He brought them into their own nation, which they hadn’t had since 78 AD.
When Isaiah wrote this, there were no United Nations-type organizations. For a nation to become a nation, they started as families that grew into tribes. Then villages, towns, cities, and eventually, collections of cities. It took a long, long time, so the idea of an entire nation coming to life in a day would be completely absurd.
I guess God’s wisdom, love, and faithfulness rules out my sulking, too.
Look, I have a hard time accepting that God ushered in Biden. Maybe He did, and the voter fraud was an unneccarry “add-on” by a few people who thought they were tipping the scales in the “good” direction. Maybe God wanted to humble (and save?) Trump. And why not? God always values the eternal (someone’s soul) over the temporary (someone’s job). When Nebuchadnezzar (the king of Babylon who conquered Israel) was marveling over his splendor and majesty, God made him crawl around the wilderness for seven years like an animal, eating grass and growing his hair and fingernails (Daniel 4). At the end, he looked up at God, repented, and was restored. King Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33) took a similar path, dragged off to a Babylonian prison by a hook through his nose (or jaw). He repented, was restored to his throne in Israel, and purged the country of its idolatry.
The bottom line is that God knows exactly what’s going on: (Daniel 2:21) “He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” And, more importantly, He’s going to weave it into His beautiful tapestry of His plan for the world.
Speaking on the issue, one of my favorite pastors reminded his congregation that we, as Christians, are “pilgrims” on this earth, as our real, eternal home is with God in Heaven. We’re visiting. He pointed out that when you visit a foreign country, you know that you’re just passing through. You don’t learn the language. You don’t obsess about your housing. You only buy what you need to survive. You learn the customs only well enough to do what you need to do while you’re there. You don’t apply for a job or get involved in local politics. No, you go there, do what you need to do, and leave.
It’s easy to lose sight of that.
If you want a great story about trusting in God through political turmoil, read the Book of Jeremiah. For 420 years (six periods of 70 years), Israel had been in the land God gave them, yet they never obeyed God’s commandment to let the land “rest” every seventh year, as a sabbath. (They broke a lot of other commandments, too.) So, God let Babylon come in, capture the people, and take them away as “slaves.” (Back then, “slavery” was more like indentured servanthood, very different from the historical American slavery.) But before their captivity, God promised that after 70 years (the seventh / sabbath / final period of 70 years), God would bring them back. At the time, the people didn’t know if they should flee to Egypt or fight the Babylonians. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God told them to go peacefully into Babylon, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
Jeremiah continues, relaying God’s message about the false prophets who told people not to go to Babylon…
“Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in My name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
(When Jeremiah says, “prophets and diviners”, I hear “news anchors and pundits.”)
“This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
With a new political administration in power, one that has very different goals and objectives than the previous, we should all remember what God told His people through Jeremiah.
So let us go into Babylon.
Let’s build houses, plant gardens, and make families. And above all, let us seek the peace and prosperity of our city. When the time is right, God will bring us out, and in that, I guess I can rejoice.