I don’t need to rehash details of this year’s presidential election to you. Today is November 4. With less than a week to go, you probably know all about the candidates, the scandals, the mudslinging, the mess. You’ve probably watched it all unfold and then burst into uncontrollable flames like I have.
It’s completely disheartening, and the more I dwell on it, the more upset I get. In fact, I couldn’t make it through the debates without a hefty dose of chocolate—and I couldn’t make it through the last one at all. How are these the two candidates we’ve ended up with? How is this the state of our country?
It feels like a joke, but it’s far from it.
A friend of mine recently shared an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ 1942 book, The Screwtape Letters. The satirical book is a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his young nephew, Wormwood. Screwtape assigns Wormwood to a human—the "patient"—and advises him on how to excel as the devil, how to tempt and bring to hell. I read the book a few years ago, but I completely forgot about this particular passage until my friend posted it online:
My Dear Wormwood,
Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure that the patient continues to believe that the problem is "out there" in the "broken system" rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.
Keep up the good work,
This is us. This is where we are.
We’re fixated on politics, gossip, anger, and frustration. We complain about a broken system when in reality, the problem is within. This presidential election goes far beyond a system of democracy instituted by our founding fathers. It reflects the state of our hearts and the spiritual battle we face between good and evil. Satan wants to take us down in any way he can. He’ll use all the tools in his arsenal. Political dissent, debate, argument, hate, anarchy—those are a few of his favorite tools, and he’s definitely using them in our current culture.
But as Believers, our story doesn’t end here. We live for something greater. We're so distracted by politics that we've forgotten the truth. While voting and engaging in our government is so very important, it will not ultimately save our souls.
Let me put it this way: Donald Trump is not our savior.
Hillary Clinton is not our savior.
Jesus is our savior.
We can take heart for He has overcome the world.
Understanding this truth gives me peace. It should lift our spirits. It should also encourage us to share the Good News.
I have slowly yet surely been making my way through the story of Jeremiah, and I’ve been convicted to spread the truth, even when it’s not popular. This Old Testament book is more a challenge for me to get through, but after reading some online Bible commentaries, I’ve come to better relate to it. And I can see how very relevant it is to our current culture.
The prophet Jeremiah was sent by God to teach the Israelites, a people who don’t believe in God. They don’t fear Him. They don’t obey Him. Instead they are fixed on sin, selfishness, and utter debauchery. Jeremiah tries to tell them how their lack of belief and trust in God will result in eternal wrath.
No one wants to hear his message. This kingdom could care less about the God he speaks of. They accept and promote the things God hates, and they have no qualms about this.
Jeremiah felt completely alone and discouraged. It hurt Jeremiah to see the land of Judah and Israel in such a state. Jeremiah struggled. How could he deliver God’s message to a people who strayed so far from what God intended for them? How could he tell the unpopular, convicting truth to people who didn’t want to hear it?
We will all experience rejection and discouragement in our walk with the Lord. To me, the election is incredibly discouraging. The sin we’re seeing before our eyes is not what God wants for us. It is not how He intended for us to live. It’s the result of the fall—the result of our brokenness.
But Jeremiah shows us that we can take comfort in God’s faithfulness. He knew the plans God had for him and the plans He had for Israel. To give them hope and to prosper, to give him a future. God has those plans for all who believe. His words are life, and we have to keep sharing them no matter how unpopular they are. Whether Democrat or Republican or Independent, we have to keep sharing. Even when those words seem foolish and crazy to the outside world, we're called to deliver the truth.
I pray for our nation’s leaders and for our country’s protection. I pray for peace around the world. I pray we wouldn't be distracted by our differences but that we would come together under the one who is Lord. I believe He is faithful, and I know that no matter what happens with this election, or during the next four years, I live for something more. My hope rests in Christ and Christ alone. I thank God for that.