Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My vote: On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

63+ million people waking up today enthused and refreshed. 55+ Million people waking up depressed and perplexed. So many hopes and fears hanging on the results of an election that just happened to take place during the short time they lived on this earth.

Don't get me wrong... I understand it all! I'm in no way naive about or oblivious to the issues or the candidates. I've paid close attention for several years now. And I don't think it's wrong to work hard for what you believe in, even in the political realm - if and when the Lord leads through His life in you. And so... this post isn't about what you should or shouldn't do, politically speaking, according to what you see going on in this world.

Rather, I'm simply hoping to draw the focus away from trusting in politics or the systems that are in place in this world... to trusting in One Person. The three in one. The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit. There's been a lot of talk about hope and change. There's been a lot of talk about fear as well. What is your hope really in? What do you fear and why are you afraid?

Perhaps let me put it this way. Lets to go the extremes. The President-elect of the United States of America is Barack Obama. On the one hand you have people who believe this country is now on a path that leads from the frying pan into eternal fire and destruction. On the other hand you have people who believe this country is now saved and is on a clear path to healing. Again, I'm talking 'extremes' here, so please bear with me on that for the sake of discussion. Indeed, people have all kinds of hopes, fears, expectations, feelings of disappointment, etc, in regards to this election.

So... what if one of those scenarios turns out to be absolutely true? What if the election of Barack Obama leads to the absolute worst conditions the people of this country has ever seen? Or what if everything is restored and we see the best possible conditions come about?

Is our hope and/or fear to be in these kinds of things? Again, I'm not trying to make a case for sitting still and saying "C'est la vie" or "Que sera sera," and burying your head in the sand until Jesus returns. "Action" (no matter how you define it in a political sense) is not what this post is about.

I'm really trying to point out that ever since the eternal God (Father, Son and Spirit) created man, God has always remained God. He has always remained sovereign. He has always been Lord of all. The world and everything in it belongs to Him. He has never missed a beat. There has never been a king, a president, a leader or an authority of any sort, who has been above Him or has been able to usurp His power or thwart His plans. The fate of the world, on the one hand, has been influenced negatively by every living person since Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but on the other hand has never really been in our hands because God has made redemption and restoration to Life His mission and joy - and His mission cannot and will not fail... no matter WHAT!

God was still in control when Herod had all the children under two years old killed. When the king sent Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the fiery furnace. When Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. When the crowd yelled for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. When Stephen was stoned to death. When Jerusalem was destroyed.

God was in control when the children of Israel were mighty in battle. God was in control when they escaped Pharaoh's army as the Red Sea was parted. When David triumphed over Goliath. When people sought to kill the Apostle Paul and yet the disciples let him down through the wall in a large basket. When Jerusalem was rebuilt.

There are so many billions (and billions and billions) of examples throughout history that testify to the sovereignty of God and His commitment to His purposes, and His ability to carry them out no matter what!

Say what you will about what I'm saying here, but I'm convinced that our lives have never been in the hands of politics, governments and political leaders, but have always, without fail, been in the hands of the Loving and Grace-ful God who created us and works endlessly to restore people to true Life, which is found only in one place, in one way, in one Person - Jesus the true and only Messiah. And this has always been true no matter what the circumstances have been.

Is the U.S. government system something that God set up? I won't answer that question directly, because I honestly don't know (no matter what the founders said), but I want to point out one huge difference between the Kingdom of God and the "kingdom" of the United States and its government. The U.S. government is (supposedly) "of the people, by the people, for the people." Can God work in and through the people of that system? Certainly. BUT... when it comes to our ultimate hope and trust, we are part of a Kingdom that is of God, by God and for God.

If you're happy today because of the election, then please enjoy your happiness! If you're sad, please remember that there is One who comforts. However, I will say that if our emotions go up and down all our lives, based upon our hopes and fears in MAN, then I believe we have somehow misplaced our trust. No matter what, please remember that Christ Himself is the solid rock on which we stand. ALL other ground is sinking sand! That's the point of this.

I'm just being honest with the way I see things after having come to this point in my grace journey. If you're happy today because of the winner, that's all fine and dandy but quite honestly my hope with this post is to DEFLATE your euphoria that has come a result of a leader who will govern for a BLIP in comparison to all of eternity. And if you're sad today, my hope is to bring you back around to TRUSTING in the only one who can give you - and the world - true hope and salvation. Imagine if you laid down all these fears and hopes that were based upon the promises of mere human beings, and instead your true hope, joy and peace was in the One who created you and loves you and has the ENTIRETY of your life in his more than capable hands!


  1. Wow. I really loved that post. It is so easy to place so much importance on the presidential election. Don't get me wrong...I think who is president is important. But there are so many more important things in life. Is it more important than a lost soul? Is it more important than a Christian who is trapped in legalism? I believe that God's view of our world is so much different than ours. I suspect He would rather allow Nero to be in charge of our country if He knew it would change people's hearts.

    I think we ought to vote for who we believe God would want to lead our country. Than once there is a winner (weather we voted for him or not) we ought to support and pray for them wholeheartedly. We ought not to join in with others as they tear down our leaders, rather we should choose to set ourselves apart from the world by choosing to lift them up.

    I'm not very good at doing this either....but I should be.

  2. Yep indeed, I don't want to diminish the importance of the presidency or the other local, state and national offices. But I believe you're right - the way we see things from our human "sight" is so different than the way God sees things. For some reason, Pontius Pilate always sticks out to me. God put him in power for His own purposes, and no one could see it at the time. Yet in hindsight we see all that God was doing. I think there have been so many things like this, all throughout history, in which God in His sovereignty has established certain people in various degrees of power, all for the purpose of accomplishing His own purposes.

    The natural mind can't accept or understand this, I think. But through faith I believe we can see that God knows what He is doing, even when things look the bleakest.

  3. Joel,
    I was thinking about this very subject when I was walking this morning.

    That is, where am I putting my faith, in this world's system and my temporal well-being or the Eternal One?

  4. My wife and I were talking about the Holocaust the other day (related to a book she is reading). Reading the unimaginable suffering Jewish people endured (including little children), she was wondering why God let it happen to HIS people or His nation. Well, I don't know the answer to that question but my immediate thought was, when God saves he saves individuals (one at a time), not a nation or a church, or a denomination or a culture or an ethnic group. It never been a mass conversion, it's always been very personal on an individual level.

    Having said that, I think, no matter who rules over us (politically), whether the government is built on Christian principles or not, God is still in the business of restoring individuals by encountering them on a very personal way. In other words, what God can do in American democracy, He can do the same in Communist China. It doesn't matter what system we are under.

    Great post, brother! You put everything into the right perspective here. Thank you!

  5. Bino,
    I used to get very caught up in the whole the U.S. is a Christian nation thing, but it rings hollow to me now.

    I also get uncomfortable when politicians (even Evangelicals) use God as a tool to get elected or to govern for their own purposes.

  6. John,

    I've been giving a lot of thought to all of that as well. Especially right now, I see so many people living in excess hope and excess fear, based upon a system that will one day end. Not that we ignore it, and not even that we can escape being "in it" (we are in the world but not of it), but our hope and trust is an eternal one, not temporal.

  7. Bino,

    My thoughts really echo your thoughts (and John's as well, in his reply to you here). God saves many, many people, but it's not as a group. Rather it's many, many individual people.

    I like what you said about God doing what He wants to whether it's in American democracy or Communist China. I've heard stories of people who have visited the underground Chinese church. The stories relate how it seems the underground Christians have more joy and peace than the ones who are living in "free" countries. I'll admit that I like being free to share my life and faith, but I really believe that when it comes down to it, true freedom is found in the eternal God, who indwells us, and not in what happens to us in these temporary earth suits.

  8. Joel,
    Amen. Great post...especially honing in on not making any "extreme predictions/assumptions" of what is in store for the futre (b/c that's all that they are).

    God IS in control...of everything.

    I especially love what you said here:

    "God has always remained God. He has always remained sovereign. He has always been Lord of all. The world and everything in it belongs to Him. He has never missed a beat. There has never been a king, a president, a leader or an authority of any sort, who has been above Him or has been able to usurp His power or thwart His plans."


    ~Amy :)

  9. Amy,

    Indeed, God is in control... of everything! When we walk by faith and not by sight, this becomes clearer and we begin to worry less and less about the problems and conditions of the world. It's definitely a growing process, and I've not arrived! But I'm thankful that God really does bring us, His children, deeper and deeper into our lives of faith and out of the fleshly worries that we've walked in in the past.

  10. Timely post, thanks Joel.

  11. Wow! Again.
    Fabulous, Joel!!
    Thank you for saying it SO well! Your words couldn't be more true!!
    He is IT!!
    None Other. Period. Ever.
    My hope is solidly placed on Him, the ONLY one that really matters when it comes to governing ANYthing!!

  12. Leonard and Free Spirit,

    This really is the message of the gospel - on Christ the solid rock I stand - and there's no part of life in which it doesn't apply! As a body we need to keep on encouraging one another in this.

  13. I'd say He's doing a swell job of that over here.

    Grace as you.