Yesterday I started sharing a story about some struggles I was having leading up to the presidential election last month. But as tough as that whole election season was, and as disappointed as I was in some of what I saw said by people I know and love who I know follow Jesus, it was actually the day after the election day that really got me down. Again, I think we can all agree that Trump was the Christian’s choice, for the most part. When it became clear he won, I was at least hoping that those who share my faith were going to be really gracious winners. Like, this was a day when Christians could set this really cool example. I envisioned Facebook statuses like “To my democrat friends, I know you are hurting and confused today, and for that I am sorry. I want you to know that I love you despite our political differences, and I know that you are fearful for your country, and my hopes and prayers are with you on this day. Let’s do dinner soon and talk about anything and everything other than politics.”
Like seriously, do you know how touching that would’ve been for someone to read on November 9th? You may feel like I’m being overdramatic, but that could’ve changed the course of someone’s whole week, maybe even their month. That, to me, is a way to be a gracious winner. Your candidate won, and the last thing you need to do is rub that in the noses of those who are hurting. This is a chance to show that Jesus love, that unconditional stuff we read about in our book but too rarely see displayed in our world.
But that’s not what a lot of Christians did on November 9th. A lot of them said “ha ha” and “eat that” and just generally gloated and were ugly. People I know and respect and love said things like that, and I was hurt over it.
So, let me get to my point here. I was really upset on November 9th. That was an awful morning for me. I couldn’t focus at work, and I couldn’t bring myself to close down Facebook, so I just keep seeing more and more followers of Jesus spout off very un-Jesus like stuff. I sat there and just let it eat away at me for hours, just feeling awful and sad and angry. Until finally it was lunch time, and I drove to a park, and I was there alone, and I did something I should’ve done all along.
I prayed. After letting this thing just wreck me on the inside for a good 36 or so hours, after struggling with these feelings and emotions for a good month or so leading up to the election, I prayed. I prayed, and then I ate some tacos, and I felt a lot better. The tacos were nice, but they don’t get the glory here. God gets the glory, because man did He ever meet with me there in my car. I was highly upset, and He worked through it with me. That prayer didn’t end with me having all the answers, but I’d regained a good portion of my peace. I had control of my thoughts and emotions again, and I had grace and love for those who hadn’t exactly displayed a Christ-like attitude after their candidate won the election.
Before I close out for today, I want to take you back to that question that I saw in Jeremiah chapter 3. Why do we ever keep anything out of prayer? For me, I think I rationalized not praying about my situation because it was a silly emotional thing. One thing I’ve really felt God working on in me the second half of this year is emotional control. And so as I got more and more upset, I tried to fight it under my own power. This was social media, after all, of course sometimes people post things they maybe shouldn’t, or post from a place of emotion when maybe they shouldn’t, and in my head I felt like it was too silly of a thing to bring before God. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there just barely able to get through my day. Upset, sad, emotionally off balance, unfocused, I was more or less useless. And whether or not it was silly for me to be in such a condition or not, what’s unarguably silly is that I left myself in that condition for almost two full days before taking it to God. The God who has answered prayers in my life time and time again. The God who tells me in His word:
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
This wasn’t me casting my anxiety on him, it was me letting my anxiety and my trouble rule my life and call the shots in my heart and in my mind. It was me trying to do life under my own power instead of taking advantage of the infinite power of God that I have available to me.
On Thursday I want to close this out by taking a step back and looking at prayer and its place in our lives. What does the Bible tell us about prayer, and how did I even get on this subject from that one verse in Jeremiah chapter 3? We’ll discover that together on Thursday!
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I want to ask that you give us more of your heart. Make loving others our default state of being. I know I wasn’t a shining beacon of love those election days, I was upset and angry. This world needs your love, and your people need your love. We need it in a desperate way, Lord, and I’m asking you today to just give us more of it. Give us the ability to receive more of your love, to be transformed by it, and to pass it on to everyone we interact with. Nothing’s ever going to truly change unless it’s your love that causes the change. For those who don’t know your love, or maybe they’re feeling far from it these days, God I just ask you with my whole heart to please flow into their lives. Wash over them like a wave of warmth and goodness. Make us whole again, Lord, because without your love operating inside of us we are not whole. My heart breaks for the incomplete, for those who are trying to do life under their own power. We’re meant to have a helper in this life, and so I’m asking that you make moves to present yourself to those who don’t have you in their life, that they may experience and know the joy and wholeness that you bring. I ask all these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
Well, we’ve survived two days of the week so far, guys, we’re doing good! I love all of you, and I just encourage you to pray today. See you on Thursday!