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Election Day is tomorrow. Many of you have probably cast your votes, but many others are still pondering whether to vote at all - and if you do, for whom you will vote. I understand that dilemma.
What is generally a crazy and chaotic time of year has taken many strange and disappointing turns. As I reflect on what is arguably the most divisive presidential race in our history, I wonder: In revolting from British rule and setting up a new government, is this really what our founding fathers envisioned?
During the American Revolution, the ideas that we hold so dear now - the fundamental equality of man, that governments should rule with the consent of the governed, and that the state recognizes rights rather than granting them - were abhorred by the ruling elite. The Continental Congress wanted to do something that had never been done on such a wide scale: give people the power to govern themselves in a democratic republic. Under this system of government, citizens decide who will represent them in government. If they believe their interests are being well-represented by their elected officials, they can continue to grant them power through their vote. If they believe their interests have not been represented, they can vote for someone else to represent them.
Many Christians seem to believe that voting is pointless. They believe the system and people in the government are corrupt, or that their preferred candidate won’t win anyway, so voting is a waste of time and energy. Others seem to insist that because God is in control of all things, Christians should simply leave the outcome in God’s hands - forgetting that God most often works through human means (like elections).
If God commands us to pray for the officials who govern us (1 Tim. 2:1-4), are we to conclude that we shouldn’t exercise our right to participate in the process that determines who governs us? It is true that all authority is given to us by God (Rom. 13:1), but we cannot read Scripture and conclude that God’s sovereignty absolves us of responsibility. In fact, there are many times in Scripture that God’s people are commended for taking action, or rebuked for failing to act. The oft-neglected story of Esther is a perfect example. Therefore, it is our view that American Christians should vote, though we would stop short of saying they must vote.
Thankfully, this political season will draw to a close tomorrow evening. If you haven’t yet voted - not just for who will be president, but for who will hold the countless other offices that have potentially more day-to-day impact on our lives as Christians - I encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow. If you need information on where or how to vote, click this link.
Remember: no matter who wins, God is still on his throne. Though this crazy political season has taken many of us by surprise, it didn’t surprise God. That is true today, it will be true tomorrow, and it will still be true the day after the election. As Christians, we should maintain an eternal perspective, reminding ourselves and one another that a day is coming when we will be ruled by a King who will govern with perfect wisdom and righteousness. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.