The American Idol (Commentary on the 2012 Election Season)

Election Day November 6, 2012 made me sick. Now, many people will think I am saying this because of the fact that President Barack Obama was re-elected. Yet, Obama’s re-election has virtually nothing to do with my loss of faith in this country. What sickened and saddened me yesterday was how many people lost faith in an already fallen world without understanding that our faith should be in God. Shortly after it was announced that Obama won the election, I logged onto my Facebook account and was bombarded by numerous angry anti-Obama posts. The posts ranged anywhere from planning to move out of the U.S. to naming those who voted for Obama as stupid or ignorant. When I saw these posts, many from self-proclaiming Christians, my heart sank. If our faith is in our country we will be disappointed regardless of who is in office. Quite frankly, it saddens me how many people worship the idol of America.

Now, I am a firm believer that it is good to voice our opinions. That is exactly why I think it is great that we have the privilege to choose who leads our country – an opportunity that many in this world will never know. Yet it seems that the only time people actually believe that the right to voice opinion is a good thing is when it is her or his opinion that is being voiced. Apparently, according to many, the right to vote is only a good thing when the individual that he or she votes for wins. Otherwise, the system is broken or people with different opinions are ignorant.

I have no problem believing that one political candidate is better than another and I have no problem with one voicing that opinion. However, if you are one to claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ then how does the human being sitting in the oval office make a difference in the joy you have? Yes, there are some women and men that I absolutely feel would do a better job than Barack Obama will. But at the end of the day it is going to be a human being who will sit in that position and that human will make mistakes. If your faith is in the president or in this country then there is reason to worry and fear about the results of a presidential election. But if your faith and hope is in God then place your hope and joy in Him and let God be God.

Admittedly, what I am about to say is going to be radical. For those outside the Christian faith I will probably sound like a lunatic. But let us assume for a moment that Barack Obama is absolutely the worst possible person to be sitting in the oval office right now (A fact I simply do not believe). Let us then assume that the United States is no longer a nation in four more years. Let us also assume that those of us who are currently apart of the U.S. will no longer be free but under the rule of a dictatorship where it is illegal to be Christian. If each and every one of these things takes place (a worst case scenario that I do not believe will happen) then those of us who follow Christ will still be free. Christ offers us a freedom that no worldly empire can. Should those things take place we will continue to praise Him. We will continue to be a light for Him. Even in the face of death, we will worship and put our hope in Jesus Christ. That is a freedom beyond any freedom of this world. That is a freedom that cannot be taken away. That is why our allegiance is to be to God before any government.

Of course, if such a worst case scenario were to take place, our lives would inevitably be affected. But if we are a people of God then our hope is not in this world. If it is then we’ve placed our hope in the wrong things and we will end up crushed. In this world we will face suffering. There is no escape from that fact if you at all believe in scripture. The fate of worldly powers does not affect the fate of the Kingdom of God.  If Jesus is Lord….then America is not.

This, of course, is the root of the problem: many Christians residing in the Unites States are Americans before they are Christians. We have American flags in most of our churches. We have “Christian” worship services in which we say “I pledge allegiance to the flag” instead of “I pledge allegiance to God”. It is presupposed by many that one must be patriotic to be Christian. My friends, what has happened is that we have fallen to worshiping the idol of America. If our allegiance is first and foremost to God then why lose any amount of hope in who is sitting as our president. America is a nation of this world and, if we believe the Christian narrative, will eventually fall. But the Kingdom of God will never fall. Therefore, put your hope, joy, and peace in God rather than in country. Obama may be president but Jesus is Lord!

Now, I love this country. I really do. I don’t deny that I’m proud (and fortunate) to be an American. I am, to some extent, patriotic. But my love for country falls far short of my love for God because I do not put my faith in this country. I am thankful for those who have served our country and I am grateful for the freedom that our soldiers fight to protect. But I am far more thankful to Jesus Christ who has given me life and freedom that is much greater than the freedom any nation can offer me. I love my country but I love my God a lot more.

Like I said, these are radical statements. But, quite frankly, Jesus wasn’t crucified because His message was normal. No, Jesus was crucified because His message was radical and deemed unacceptable. The gospel has always been radical – so radical that it’s taking us more than 2,000 years to catch up with it. So for those who are followers of Christ, do not despair if the election left something to be desired because your hope is not in this nation – it is in Jesus Christ. Also, for those who are happy with the election results, do not think that any one person can offer this world a hope greater than God.

Let us, as the body of Christ, look towards the future with hope and joy. Regardless of any election, we are going to face pain, suffering, torment, temptation, and death in this world. But thanks be to God – our hope is not in this world! Our hope is in something much greater! Thanks be to God, thanks be to God!

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” -John 16:33      

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