Saturday night is family movie night, and a few weeks ago, it was my turn to pick. I chose The Prince of Egypt, trying, as many moms do, to get a little spiritual nourishment mixed in to the fun. It worked! At the end, both boys decided to start reading the book of Exodus for their morning devotions; thank you DreamWorks! Continue reading
Leading up to the 2012 election, I’ve been saddened by all the bitterness expressed on both sides. The angry posters and commercials, the accusatory mass emails: the raw emotion swirling around the ballot is, well, alarming. I don’t mean that people should not have strong opinions about which candidate would be better for our country. What bothers me is when it seems like Christians are putting their hope in any man; when I hear the implication that this country will rise or fall based on who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office. I’m concerned when I hear more emotion being expressed about a political party than about God, Himself: when certain news channels are given more time and attention than Scripture, when people pray more fervently for a candidate than for the salvation of family and friends, when a party winning the majority is given more weight than a spiritual renewal that brings salvation to many and changed hearts on a large scale.
Looking at politics in other countries both sobers me and helps direct my prayers. Apartheid South Africa, had very conservative laws: for example, homosexuality was banned, teachers and students freely prayed in schools and businesses had to observe the Sabbath. On paper it looked like a “Christian” country. But underneath the thin veer of righteousness, dwelt corruption, hatred, deep and repressive racism, gross inequity, segregation and police brutality towards non-whites. In other words, the Apartheid South African government was Pharisaical: truly a white washed sepulcher. Men attempted to enforce righteousness through the rule of law, but without the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, that country degenerated into a bastion of human rights violations.
Personally, I do not think social conservatism is the answer.
But nor do think secularism is.
When I look at what is happening in many countries of Europe today, I don’t wish that on America either. In a lot of Europe, marriage is becoming obsolete, couples are bearing fewer and fewer children and the country is feeling both the economic and sociological effects of that. Added to that, subconsciously or consciously citizens look to the state as their source of provision. Churches are dying more quickly than they are being planted and a fear of God is rejected as irrational and anachronistic. The culture is so liberal, I often think it must be hard to raise Christian kids with Godly values there.
You know the kind of country I’d like to live in? In a country experiencing revival. As a result of revivals in Great Britain and America, orphanages were formed, and prisons reformed, sweat shops closed and slavery ended, the poor were cared for, marriages were healed, drunks stopped drinking, men returned to their families, Christians repented and worshiped God with abandon, crime rates plummeted and church attendance soared. It was no Utopia, but human hearts were changed across social, gender and racial lines and the society was all the better for it.
I like a good political debate more than many, and I feel passionate about some issues, but I have to ask:
Do we pray as fervently for a move of the Holy Spirit as we do the election? Do we think a revival is unattainable or too ethereal, so we instead pour our energy into something that seams more realistic, like a certain party winning and addressing our pet grievances? If we put all our eggs in that basket, we are bound for disappointment, no matter who wins in November. I’m not saying elections are unimportant. They deserve some of our time, attention and emotion, but not all of it, or even most of it. Something is always trying to gain central place in our hearts. Washington doesn’t deserve that position.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Ps 20:7).
As Babbie Mason sings, “The only hope for the world is Jesus…”
Forty-four years ago my father walked into a Southern restaurant wearing his US Army uniform and was told, “We don’t serve your kind here.” I can only imagine the bitterness, rejection and anger he must have swallowed back as he turned around and walked away. How many Black men knew this indignity, this insult, this slap in the face? How many have had to forgive such transgressions and even far worse? And how many of them rejoiced and wept as a Black man took the oath of office and became the most powerful man in the world? I chuckle as I think of those restaurant owners trying to turn President Obama away. Justice is indeed sweet.
Oh, I know our new President is pro-choice, and in the early days of his campaign I struggled with voting for him. Especially after having a baby, the stench of abortion sickens me. So I went back and forth, conflicted but wanting to do the right thing, not the emotional thing. Yet I kept hearing a voice inside saying, “Perhaps God has a different agenda right now.” He is allowed, isn’t He? He is God Almighty. Time will tell if that was the Holy Spirit or just I talking, but as I sat watching the Inauguration and seeing the tears of men from my father’s generation and hearing the likes of Cicely Tyson praise the Lord within ear-shod of millions, I cried, and then smiled and felt elated about our new President.
Perhaps God’s agenda includes healing deep, neglected wounds and building a bridge to those struggling on the wrong side of town. Perhaps God wanted to infuse hope and life into an entire people group with hidden scars and dark memories and declare, “I haven’t forgotten you.” Perhaps it was time to display in living color that Martin Luther King’s dream is really coming true, right before our very eyes.
Who is to say that Rick Warren won’t be for President Obama what Billy Graham was for many presidents: an advisor, confidant and friend? Who is to say that Obama can’t change and realize that life really does begin when that egg and that sperm unite and God declares, “Let there be… LIFE.”‘ Vulnerable, microscopic, but God-breathed. Everything is possible. That was on the lips of so many on the Washington Mall, and as Christians, that’s what we believe.
Let’s focus our prayers, thanking God for the healing that has already taken place and interceding for our President, that He might remain humble, fear God and seek His perfect wisdom.
And check out this video. A picture is worth a thousand words: