In the few short weeks since President Biden’s inauguration, my social media feeds have been filled with well-meaning Christians voicing their concerns about what the future of the country looks like. Iterations of “I’m scared” and “brace yourself” and “America is done” have been in more posts than I expected. And, on one hand, those concerns are understandable; Biden has signed dozens of executive orders, and his policies related to abortion are surely going to come after the pro-life cause.
But I’ve also noticed just how upset some of my fellow Christian-conservatives seem at the state of our politics, and I think some perspective is required.
Our Hope Isn’t In Our Leaders
Power switches hands in this country relatively quickly–and that’s something to be thankful for! Even if we disagree with who’s in power, we are blessed enough that we can both openly voice discontent and also vote that individual out of office every few years.
It’s a two-edged sword, though. There’s always a new race, a new candidate, a new policy, a new something. The volatility of it can be upsetting, especially when that new something doesn’t go the way we want it to.
But it’s also worth noting that no leader, Republican or Democrat, is going to save you. No matter what way our election swings–even if it’s in favor of Republicans–we will never have perfect peace, justice, righteousness, or hope in men.
The Bible talks about this at length in many places, but one of my favorites is the book of Ecclesiastes (cue people exiting out of this article, because Ecclesiastes scares people). I know Ecclesiastes can seem depressing, but it provides such an honest look at the state of the world and our lack of hope if we do not have Christ.
Solomon made this observation in Ecclesiastes 3:16-18:
Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. I said to myself, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. I said to myself regarding the sons of mankind, “God is testing them in order for them to see that they are as animals, they to themselves.”
“Men are but beasts,” says another translation.
Wickedness and injustice are inescapable, and, Republicans or Democrats, Christians or not, leaders cannot save you. And as Christians, we know this. Our ultimate hope does not lie in men; God is the one who makes right all the injustice in our world.
How thankful we as Christians can be that our hope isn’t subject to the whims of our leaders or the changes in the markets or the next enemy, war, crisis, whatever.
Our hope is fixed on something unchanging, unmarred by the workings of men and their agendas. Our hope rests on an eternal promise, rooted in the gospel of Christ. The gospel promises complete justice and righteousness and hope. It transcends these earthly issues and offers unshakeable peace that lasts for the life to come.
Our sinful leaders come and go; the Holy God is eternal.
We Need to Pray for Our Leaders
It can feel useless to pray for leaders who seem determined to legislate against all we believe in. And especially when Ecclesiastes tells us of man’s perpetual inclination toward wickedness, it can feel all the more helpless.
But God commands us to pray for our leaders, and we know that prayer is a powerful and effective tool. God reminds us that He is the one who establishes all authorities; we can and should be both prayerful and obedient toward those whom God has established in power.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 says this:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions…”
And Romans 13:1 explains:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
It doesn’t mean our prayers will yield results within our government that we find favorable. But we can trust that God hears our supplications and responds in His perfect will, in His perfect time, and that those who are in power have been permitted their role by Him.
And remember: God has established our authorities, and He is also much greater than them. To Him, “…the nations are like a drop from a bucket…” (Isaiah 40:15). The world isn’t ending because Biden is president, and it’s not like God’s will has suddenly been thwarted. God is not surprised by the affairs of our world, the outcome of our election, the executive orders our new leader signed. These things are nothing more than a blip on the map, America is a drop in the bucket, and this moment in time is just that–a moment. We’re not doomed. God ordained this, and now we can follow with obedience to our leaders and to God in prayer for these leaders He’s established.
As you pray for your leaders–and we must–remember who the ultimate authority is, and praise Him that He’s so much greater than what’s going on in our country.
Hold to Your Convictions
We can and should defend policies that support our convictions. For example, policies surrounding the sanctity of life can and should be supported. We are blessed to live in a country where discourse is permitted and encouraged. So, make your voices heard, but be sure to do it with grace.
I’ll close out with this encouragement to Christians found in Colossians 4:5-6:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”