The upcoming election is garnering a lot of interest at this time of polarized political feelings and beliefs in our country. Many people are strongly identified with a particular political point of view, even if not yet behind a specific candidate.
I happen to have some inside information about the outcome of the election. I know who is going to win, so I’m not especially worried about it. I’m still going to vote, because living in a democracy with the right to vote is an incredible privilege and one I never take for granted. But I’m not going to panic in case this or that candidate might not get elected to the right seat, or this other one might get elected and do terrible damage. I’m going to ignore the rallying cries to save the country by forwarding an urgent email revealing new secrets about a politician or posting another status to my Facebook (“if you really care – and only 1% of you will”).
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person who wins the election next November ( in fact, every election from President to dogcatcher) , will be exactly the person God chose to be there.
Hang in there with me. This is not just a Christian sugar-coated answer so I don’t have to worry about serious things or take any responsibility. It’s not me closing my eyes to the fact that many people have been in offices of power who didn’t deserve to be there, by my standards, and who did things while there that in my way of reckoning were very destructive. But let’s look at what someone much wiser than me said about a person in power who was doing something very unjust to an innocent citizen.
“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. John 19:10-11
Jesus himself told the man who was going to hand him over to be crucified that the position that gave him authority to do so was given to him by God. Did God make a mistake? Should someone else have been in that place? Of course not. The truth is that “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” Isaiah 55:8
In all honesty, there are things that certain elected officials have done that I couldn’t disagree with more strongly. And I will use my vote to attempt to change these things. But if my candidate doesn’t get elected, I will rest in the knowledge that God is still on his throne. He hasn’t forgotten his plan or his people. He hasn’t changed his mind, or lost sight of his intention. Our thoughts are just nothing like his thoughts, and what we see as good and desirable for our immediate temporal situation may not be the best for the eternal good.
Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There isn’t any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God. So anyone who opposes the authority is standing against what God has established. People who take this kind of stand will get punished. The authorities don’t frighten people who are doing the right thing. Rather, they frighten people who are doing wrong. Would you rather not be afraid of authority? Do what’s right, and you will receive its approval. It is God’s servant given for your benefit. But if you do what’s wrong, be afraid because it doesn’t have weapons to enforce the law for nothing. It is God’s servant put in place to carry out his punishment on those who do what is wrong. That is why it is necessary to place yourself under the government’s authority, not only to avoid God’s punishment but also for the sake of your conscience. You should also pay taxes for the same reason, because the authorities are God’s assistants, concerned with this very thing. So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor. Romans 13:1-7