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Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Prov 3:5-8).
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land (Ps 37:1-9).
Every election, it seems people start wondering if the politicians they don’t like are the antichrist. This is a time-honored tradition in politics—Dante famously put a pope he didn’t like in hell in his book Inferno—and it seems we Evangelicals are no exception. This person is a candidate for president! It must be the end of the world!
No, it’s not. It’s okay.
First thing to consider: even if the U.S. were to collapse today, it would not be the end of the world. The Bible doesn’t really have anything to say about the United States of America. Our whole continent isn’t even mentioned, having not been discovered by the Old World at the time of the Bible’s writing. We do not figure into any biblical end-times prophecy.
That’s not to say that it isn’t very easy to see us in the Bible. You can look at the images used in Daniel and Revelation and make them fit the U.S. and the 21st century if you’d like. And you’d be part of a long lineage of people doing that same thing with their people and time period over the past thousand years. Again, it’s nothing new to do these things, but that doesn’t mean that this interpretation is correct.
And let us also remember: the world did just fine without the U.S.A. for thousands of years. If we collapsed today, the world would survive without us.
Don’t get me wrong: the U.S. is pretty nice, and I particularly enjoy the many freedoms I have here, not to mention our economic benefits. I’m not saying that the destruction of the U.S. would be a good thing, or that I’d like to see it happen—far from it! I’m just saying it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Just of our current status quo.
Maybe the end of our status quo will coincide with the end of the world, maybe it won’t. You can’t know, and either way, it’s not really worth worrying about.
Take a deep breath. Relax. It will be all right in the end.
Why are Christians so prone to this kind of panic? Don’t you know that God is in control, and that your hope is in Him, not in the U.S.A.? We are greatly blessed to be here, but if we were to lose it, it would still be okay!
Whatever your opinions of the candidates and their views, stay calm. There is no need for alarm. You don’t belong to the U.S.; you belong to God.
So what if you aren’t panicking about this? If you’re one of those people who isn’t participating in this hysteria (and I sincerely believe the vast majority of you reading are), why am I talking to you about this?
Because you’re a leader. You are supposed to lead people in this.
This doesn’t mean you tell people who to vote for—you will notice I haven’t said a thing about any candidate or party in particular. What I mean is it’s you’re job to remind people that God is in control. That things will be all right.
You’re a leader: people look to you for guidance. When they’re panicking, that’s when you step in and calm them down. This isn’t just in purely spiritual matters, because discipleship engages the whole person, not just their spirit. If political realities are causing a panic, it’s your responsibility to lead them through it.
Your calm, your peace—a fruit of the Spirit, remember—is contagious, just as worry is contagious. You can be a breakwater, calming the seas of worry on your campus. You can be a peacemaker when people argue so vehemently about politics. You can show love and faith and hope as people descend into the darkness of hate and division.
You can be Christ’s ambassador.
So be calm. Learn about what the Bible says about the end times. Develop a political theology (remember, you have one, whether you’ve thought about it or not). Don’t tell people what to believe, but walk with them with the peace of the Spirit.
Pray the Spirit’s leading on your group as all of us get ready to vote in the fall. Pray without political agenda, but for God to speak to you and give you peace as you vote.
And remember: It will be okay.