Surving the post-election punch

I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.
— Psalm 2:6 NIV

I’m going to make an assumption . . . so bear with me. It’s just an assumption.

I was on my walk this morning when I saw someone had delivered DeSantis/Nuñez a punch to the gut. I know this corner. There are no nearby objects, no sign that anyone had run off the road, no apparent “political sign malfunction.”

This had the looks of intentional destruction.

My assumption is that a Gillum/King supporter sucker-punched the unsuspecting sign. If so, it speaks to the frustration all of us feel when our candidate of choice — or the candidate we simply cannot stomach — comes out victorious:

  • “Ahhhhh!”

  • “No way!”

  • “I can’t believe people are that stupid.”

  • “What is our (pick the appropriate designation) world, nation, state, city coming to?”

Election Night was full of winners and losers, upsets and landslides, and always shifting political winds. I suspect it was a good night for Pepto-Bismal, Advil, and therapists everywhere.

Many a football Sunday I stare at the TV and ask, “How can all the teams I want to win, lose?!” Perhaps some feel that kind of pain this morning. Others, seeing their candidate or party eek out a win, are certain:

  • “People are finally seeing the light.”

  • “All is well in the world . . . for the next two years or six anyway.”

  • “God hasn’t given up on our nation just yet.”

  • “Well, it may not be a blue/red wave, but at least it is a ripple.”

Late night TV host Stephen Colbert opened his show singing, “We’re Stuck In This Together.” True! So how do we get unstuck? How does anyone survive the “post-election punch.” I want to suggest four things:

1. Refocus Your Hope

We need political leaders. They are God’s gift to us and a part of his plan to help us live in peace. Paul tells us, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 ESV.

We run into trouble and heartache when we place our hope in those leaders. They are political servants not little saviors. That job belongs to Jesus in both his atoning work on the cross and his future reign as King (see Revelation 4-5, 19, 21-22).

I love this world and I love living in America, but it is only a temporary home. I’m a dual citizen whose future is not defined by red, white, and blue. Psalm 2, a messianic portrait, shows us what God has already done. God has installed his King. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. He rules. It is just a matter of time before we live under that rule.

I must re-focus my hope on my true King and kingdom.

2. Assess Your Angst

God wants me to live in peace — a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). This does not mean my life will be void of political disappointments or discouragement, but these disappointments provide a fresh opportunity to assess my angst.

This morning I was thinking about how the residents of the town of Ophrah reacted when Gideon tore down their idol:

Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” Judges 6:20 ESV

I love the way Joash responded. This is my paraphrase, “Get a grip! If you have to fight Baal’s battles for him, he can’t be much of a god?”

When idols fall — be they political, monetary, sports, or religious — get a grip! If angst is creeping into my heart over my candidate’s or political party’s loss (or favorite football team for that matter), I need to examine my heart to assess whether I have allowed that candidate, party, or issue to become an idol in my life. If I need it to satisfy me, to be “okay,” I’ve lost sight of my true treasure. David said, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” Psalm 16:5 ESV

3. Pray For Our Leaders

Prayer is the heart’s petition and resolve.

Like it or not, the winners from yesterday’s elections — and referendums passed or not — are now the leaders and law of the land. In prayer, I lift them up for the common good. And in prayer I also redirect my sometimes wandering, aching, and hopeful heart to the Lord who alone can bring change:

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-5 ESV

Prayer turns me away from harmful and destructive social media rants, text griping, and other forms of divisive rancor that are wreaking havoc in our country.

4. Work For The Common Good

I have a responsibility beyond my tribe. Christians can be notoriously insular. We can propagate a “we vs them” attitude toward those outside the faith. This is not biblical Christianity. Both Jeremiah in the older testament and Peter in the new, give us words from God that speak to our role for the common good.

  • But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7 ESV

  • “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable . . . . Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution . . . . Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:1-132, 16-17 ESV

Election Day is over, but a new day has begun. Some hearts are euphoric, others tinged with melancholy. For your part, be an agent of God’s goodness and peace. It’s why Jesus came and why he is coming again.