Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Return of the King

My pastor is a wise sort of fellow. Don't tell him. It'll go to his head. In and of itself that would be no problem. But there is the little fact that I also happen to live with him.

He writes a monthly article for a church newsletter. I'm hijacking his musings and posting them here without permission. I don't really need permission. I always have the option to just kiss him and make up. Here are his words:

Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.                                               Hebrews 11:16

I don’t know if you heard but there was an election recently.  You might have missed it.  It was really hard to find any information on TV.  So few people were sharing their opinions on social media that it is easy to understand if it escaped your notice.

The truth, of course, is that unless you were living under a rock or just emerged from a year-long coma, you are well aware of the election that just transpired.  There were widely varied responses: shock, euphoria, anger, despair, ambivalence. 

Let me say this.  It is no secret that our nation is deeply divided and much variance exists, even within the body of Christ. So how do we respond?  What words do I have to say to all of us as we move forward?

First, let me break my longstanding pattern of not endorsing a party or political candidate.  I would like to tell you where my allegiance lies.  I am a monarchist.*

That’s right.  I’m done with democracy as the ideal, I long for a return of the King.  My advocacy, my hope, and allegiance is to Jesus Christ.

I’m not saying this as a cop-out or an attempt to be tongue –in-cheek.  I am reminded that it is God who raises nations and brings princes to naught.  Any success that our nation enjoys is not the result of our own gifting or cleverness but is a demonstration of God’s mercy toward us.  I realize that God smiles upon obedience but I also know that this principle extends to all peoples. I realize that God’s salvation plan is not based upon nation building but is to be the spread of the Gospel all across the globe.

I have come to learn that I am an American best when I am not an American first.  When I remember that I am an ambassador and a stranger in a foreign land, I realize it is my job to represent Christ, His love and His character.  I am called to live at peace, if it is possible, and to conduct myself in a respectable manner while I wait for Christ’s return.

So how should we respond?  What do we do until Christ’s comes back?

Do not despair if an election does not go your way.  Likewise, do not rejoice overmuch when your candidate wins.   Human beings will let us down.  Even the political parties that you have the greatest affinity with will disappoint you and break their promises.  Remember that God is in control.  He still holds this world securely in His hands.

Be a good citizen.  We are called to live at peace, if it is possible, and to conduct ourselves in a law abiding and respectable manner.

Exercise your right to vote.  It is a great privilege to be a part of our own governance. 

Pray for those in authority.  Scripture states, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3. 
Remember that God used pagan kings like Cyrus to accomplish His work.  He humbled rulers like Nebuchadnezzar to reveal His power and greatness.  And those words written to Timothy were written during the reign of one of the most notorious Emperors of Rome: Nero.

Finally, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Remember why we are here.  North America could disappear like Atlantis under the waves of the Ocean but even if this happened, our calling would not change.  We are here to share Christ.  To live as His witnesses.

Like you, I enjoy living in a land of freedom, of opportunity, where I can raise my family in peace.  I will do what I can to preserve such blessings. But I need to remember that this is not my home.  I need to remember that elections and edicts do not determine the ultimate course of human events.  It is God Almighty, my King, who holds that power.

Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
                                                                                                                                                Daniel 4:34-35

*When I read the Bible, I am sadly reminded that the majority is often wrong.  From Babel to Kadesh Barnea, the majority of persons, time and again, walks in a manner contrary to God.  I, however, will side with the King, regardless which direction the crowd goes.

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