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2008 Presidential Race

>Hope and disappointment on the campaign trail

>A Barack Obama supporter celebrates at the candidates's headquarters in Des Moines on Jan. 3. [Reuters/Jim Young]Such high hopes, such elevated expectations. The next President of the United States is going to bring sweeping “CHANGE!” to the nation we were told after the results in Iowa. We have such grand visions for the future and we expect these dreams to become reality through the political process. We have great fears and anxieties about the present and the future and we look to our president for security and solutions.

According to John Edwards’ 2nd-place victory speech, the next president is responsible for preventing liver disease, cleft palates, job layoffs, and a lack of clothing. Obama is guaranteeing health coverage for every person in the country. To listen to the Republicans, their presidency would bring us protection, prosperity, and safety. All the candidates promise to bring unity to the nation. The candidates promise to lift us up out of our current conditions and bring us into the Promised Land. And we believe them; we place our trust in them. And we are disappointed time and time again.

Good health, prosperity, peace, environmental stability. Are we to look to goverBarack Obama celebrates his victory in Iowa, Jan. 3nment, specifically the President, to bring these hopes to fruition? Many, many times we act as if we should. We get ourselves so geared up for presidential elections as if the fate of the world hangs in the balance. In one sense, the fate of the world does seem to hang in the balance when it comes to war, nuclear proliferation, and global terrorism. But the next President of the United States is not the one we are to look to for our health, prosperity, and peace. There is another who is even greater than the most powerful governments and kingdoms today.

We are disappointed by politicians time and again because it is God the Son who is King of kings and Lord of lords and he is sovereign over his creation, not the next president. The Lord is the one we ought to turn to first and foremost as we seek these blessings. Political leaders can serve admirably as good stewards of what God has given us but we do not place our trust in them. We need to remember this in 2008.

Political campaigns can bring the worst out of those who are supposed to be servants of the King. We conservatives do not want to see Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama become President. But what will happen if one of them does win the election? Some of us are actually gripped with fear over the prospects of another Clinton presidency. There are many principled reasons for working to prevent this from happening but we need not act as if God is no longer in control if a Democrat were to win in November. God will still be sovereign and we will continue to be about the work of the in-breaking kingdom of God.

I am not saying that we should not vote or that the election is unimportant. I am not saying “let go and let God.” What I am saying is that we ought to seek God for our health, prosperity, and peace rather than our temporary, fickle, and limited governments. If we truly trusted our sovereign God in these matters, just as God has commanded his people over and over again in Scripture, I believe we would be far less likely to continue to set ourselves up for disappointment when the next president fails to deliver on their promises. We will also be less likely to rip each other to shreds over who our next president should be. We will be less anxious over what will happen to us if the other party wins in November.

Christ the Pantocrator: Lord of Creation, King of Glory, Ruler of AllPresidential candidates make big promises and paint amazing pictures of the future. And we tend to have very high hopes about what a president can do about almost every area of our lives. I believe that this election is important and I intend to be engaged in the process but I want to urge us to step back and remember who we should look to for our strength, our wellbeing, our daily bread, and peace and unity among mankind. It is not the men and women who are running for office this year but our sovereign Lord and King. As we continue to maintain both our earthly and heavenly citizenships, let us remember which kingdom is the everlasting kingdom. We already have a Messiah so we don’t need to find a messianic figure in this election. We have a Savior and he doesn’t live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Discussion

10 thoughts on “>Hope and disappointment on the campaign trail

  1. >I think it would be more like St. Francis of Assisi getting nekkid. 🙂

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 7, 2008, 6:35 pm
  2. >Would that be like Anakin joining the Dark Side in Episode III or Vader coming the light side of the Force in Episode VI?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 6, 2008, 3:18 am
  3. >Good post, Jeff.You’re one step closer to joining us Christian pacifists. 😉

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | January 6, 2008, 2:50 am
  4. >———————————–Rather, I voted for one of the two people who are promising to do the least!———————————–The really sad thing is, the people who promise the least are actually the better candidates! They know the limitations of the office and are not willing to compromise by making promises they know are out of their reach. Yet, they never seem to get elected because the majority of Americans are so over-commercialized they like the sensationalism and buy into it. This is another aspect of what Jeff was talking about.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 4, 2008, 6:23 pm
  5. >”I did the caucus thing last night.”I forgot that you live there now! Would you be willing to write a post about your experience yesterday? I’d like to hear more about that.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 4, 2008, 5:57 pm
  6. >I did the caucus thing last night. Oddly, this is the first primary where I’ve participated, while I’m putting less hope in government than ever before. Precisely because of Romans 13 I didn’t vote for the person who I agreed with the most. Rather, I voted for one of the two people who are promising to do the least!

    Posted by Jacob | January 4, 2008, 5:33 pm
  7. >Very well said.(Seriously. I am not mimicking a bunch of mindless fanboys of certain blog :))

    Posted by David Cho | January 4, 2008, 5:11 pm
  8. >”Yet, after watching almost ten days of extreme violence in Kenya and seeing the upheaval in Pakistan, I am thankful that we have a civilized process that we can participate in to elect those who lead our country.”No doubt. I am very thankful for our system of government. I believe it is probably the best ever. The fact that our government is so relatively good makes it that much easier for us to be lulled into placing undo trust in it and it’s leaders. Like most things, we need balance. We can appreciate and enjoy the benefits of our republic without crossing into an idolatrous trust.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 4, 2008, 3:34 pm
  9. >That is why I don’t put my trust in politicians. There are very few that really do what they say they will do, either because they are just blowing smoke or because they don’t have the ability to keep their promises.

    Posted by co_heir | January 4, 2008, 2:28 pm
  10. >This is true Jeff. We must take a proper biblical position no matter who is elected. We are told in Romans 13 that “all authority is from God.” We are also told in 1 Timothy 2 that “prayers should be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions.” Evangelicals often take the approach that if a believing president is in office, then God’s servant is in office. Yet, if Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton gets into office, then God or his people, or his plan, has somehow been defeated. This is ludicrous. All authority acts as a servant of God. If Hillary or Barak or Romney or Huckabee is our next president, God will work through that person to carry out his will for our nation. And guess what? His will may or may not be the continued blessing and prosperity we have known for so long. I certainly hope it is. In fact, I pray that the Lord will continue to bless our nation. We do get wrapped up in the whole process and it can cause us to turn our trust away from God and toward man. Yet, after watching almost ten days of extreme violence in Kenya and seeing the upheaval in Pakistan, I am thankful that we have a civilized process that we can participate in to elect those who lead our country.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 4, 2008, 10:02 am

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