Hope Beyond Election Day

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

With November 3rd, Election Day, almost upon us I have heard many say, and have even sarcastically said myself, “the world could end” or “our future is hanging in the balance” depending on how the election goes and who wins. While I certainly do not want to minimize the importance of elections or voting (get out there and VOTE!), I do wonder if we are putting a little to much weight on the results of November 3rd. Are we giving ourselves a little too much credit?

The Year 2020 is one for the ages. I could go through the list, but needless to say, anxiety levels are through the roof. This is completely understandable. As someone who deals with anxiety on a daily basis, I can appreciate how even the most steady person could be knocked off kilter by the “Wave of 2020”. Additionally, having personally lived through a significant earthquake, I know what it feels like to suddenly realize the ground is not as stable as you once believed. The Year of 2020 has shaken us into a state of uncertainty. This lack of certainly plays into our perspective of the future.

While this year has been destabilizing, the root of the problem is much deeper. Our affinity for believing the “sky is falling” goes back to the human condition. From the beginning of time humans have needed to be reminded not to lose heart because of their finite perspective. If you would like proof, just read the Bible. The pattern is very consistent- life is good, something interrupts life (often our own choices), the future becomes unclear, humans freak out, God tells them not to lose hope, hope for the future is restored. What can we learn from this pattern?

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV) Paul did not write these words as someone who had lived an easy life to a group of people who were living in perfect circumstances. In both cases life was less than ideal, far more so than most of us experience today. Yet, Paul encourages them to be filled with joy and peace, and overflowing with hope. In fact, Paul writes it expecting that it would be true. What was the determining factor- their trust in God through Jesus. Their hope was not grounded in their unsteady, finite perspective, but rather in someone with infinite perspective.

This goes back to my original question- are we giving ourselves too much credit? If the future was ultimately in our hands, the results of November 3rd could make or break the future. However, the future is not ultimately in our hands. Instead, it is in the hands of a God who loves us and created us on purpose and for a purpose. We should find great hope in that, especially as Christ Followers.

Does that mean life will be perfect or that we shouldn’t care about what happens this side of heaven? No, of course not. We are called to vote our conscious and fight for a better future. How we live and what we do does make an impact on the world and its future. However, at the same time, we shouldn’t lose heart and believe the future is lost when life becomes a little murky. When the future becomes unclear to us, we must fix our eyes on the one who can always see. No matter what happens on November 3rd, we can find hope in a God who loves us.

I would challenge you to consider a change of perspective. Instead of putting your trust in your own decisions, or a political party, I would challenge you to put your trust in a God who Paul says will “fill you with joy and peace.” Maybe, just maybe you might find yourself “overflowing with hope.”

James Belt

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