Even if you don't live in a swing state, you've probably still gotten your fair share of political talk over the past couple of months -- even if it's just from your friends on facebook. But since I live in a swing state, I've quite literally been inundated with pretty much nothing but political ads for the last six to eight weeks.
Over the weekend, while working on my NaNoWriMo novel, I was listening to music on Pandora and every single ad was for a political campaign. And about 85% of those ads were the exact same one. It was a new ad that had just been released in the last week. If you don't live in Virginia, I can pretty much guarantee you didn't hear or see if because it started with Michelle Obama saying, "On Tuesday, people all over Virginia will vote for my husband so we can keep our country moving forward." By the end of the weekend, I had it memorized. And not by choice.
I'll be honest, I'm not particularly pleased with the election results. I don't think President Obama did a good job in his first term of office and therefore I don't believe he deserves a chance at a second term. However, this doesn't mean I was a major Mitt Romney fan either. To be completely honest, I don't think either candidate really deserves to be in office, but I would rather try someone new than continue with a candidate who has lived up to very little that he promised us four years ago.
All that said, more than anything, I'm just glad the election is over. Like I said, I'm not really pleased with the election results. But that doesn't mean I think our nation is going to fall apart overnight. It doesn't mean I'm moving to Canada or Europe or any other nation that's not the US.
The thing I've had to continually remind myself over the last couple of weeks and since casting my vote yesterday is that God is in control.
Nearly every election that comes around, there's two outcries. Outcries of excitement at a particular candidate winning from one side, and outcries of disgust from ther other side about how our country is going down the tubes and they're all moving to Canada.
But the fact of the matter is, as much as "we the people" put our president in office, the One who really has complete control over who is leading the United States or any other country is not us, but God. You can call it cheesy, you can call it ridiculous, but it's Biblical truth.
When He was about to be sent to the cross, Jesus remained silent when Pilate continued to ask Him questions.
Pilate said, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have power either to free your or to crucify you?" (John 19:10, NIV)
Jesus very matter-of-factly responded, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." (John 19:11a, NIV)
The fact of the matter is, God is sovereign. He knows what He's doing. He places specific rulers in charge of countries at specific times in history for purposes that sometimes only He knows.
On top of that, the early church was repeatedly encouraged by both Paul and Peter to submit to and respect the authorities that they were under.
In Romans 13:1-5, Paul says the following:
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience." (NIV, emphasis added)All that is to say that when we rebel against our president, or disrespect him, regardless of whether he is the candidate we voted for, we are rebelling against and disrespecting God because, whether we understand the reasoning or not, God has put President Obama into office for another term, and as such, we must respect him.
As I've said, I would have preferred that President Obama not be reelected, but as he will continue to be in authority over me as the president of the United States for the next four years, I will continue to respect him as such. It is authority that he has been given, for one reason or another, by God, and if I question President Obama's reelection, then I question the sovereignty of God.
And so, my fellow Christians (who did not vote for Obama), I would ask that you join me in trusting that God knows what He's doing. I would ask that you join me in respecting the opinions and beliefs of our friends with whom we disagree. I would ask that for the next four years, we respect our president for the authority he has been given by God. And for my friends, both Christian and not who are supporters of Obama, I ask that you would do the same and respect those with opinions different than yours.
I sincerely hope that we can put the fighting, bickering and mudslinging that have characterized much of this election behind us and recognize that we're all citizens of the same country and should be working together, not against each other. A house divided cannot stand and if we continue to stand as a nation divided, we will not stand either.
Let us move forward, but do so together.