First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.—1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB)
For some people, November 5, 2008 was the worst day of the young 21st Century, worse than 9/11 even. What was such a big deal about a random Wednesday in history?
It was the day after America elected Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American to hold that office.
In some Christian circles, he was looked at as the Antichrist, as someone who was so into peacemaking and radical change (plus a fuzzy enough background) to fulfill some of the requirements of the Beast, and on 11/5/08 or shortly thereafter (maybe his inauguration on 1/20/09) we would all be raptured up to Heaven.
Well, it’s been almost two years now, and we’re still stuck here on this ball of mud that God created. Unless Obama plans on changing his name to Nicolae Carpathia in the next few years, it appears he is not the one to worry about at the moment.
Still, I have heard Christians say the most hateful, racist, outlandish, traitorous, and downright mean things about our President. The reasons are many: he is against everything we stand for, his side did the same thing to GW Bush when he was in office, he deserves it, he picked the fight first, etc.
The question I always want to ask and never have the guts to is, “Yeah, he might be on the wrong path, but are you still praying for him?”
The Bible doesn’t say that we have to agree with our leaders, but it does say that we have to pray for them. In fact, I would think that if you disagree with your elected officials, you would pray more for them to see God’s will in whatever oversight responsibility they have.
God didn’t just take a vacation in the 2008 election. He didn’t head out to Taco Bell that night and returned to find out Obama won the election. If you believe in a God that parted the Red Sea for His people to escape Egypt or loved us enough to allow His son die for our sins, fixing an election is a cakewalk.
And now, Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life after an attempted assassination has left her, the target, in grave condition and six other people dead. The alleged shooter is a mentally unbalanced man who is now the scapegoat of the emotionally charged political landscape we are in today. Politics has always been a media-driven culture, but with 24-hour news channels, blogs, message boards, and tea party fights on YouTube, it is possible that politics now saturates our lives to an unbalanced and unhealthy level.
I wonder now if the followers of Jesus could have done something about this. If we had complained less, prayed more, listened more, passed around fewer email jokes, and reached out more, would Democrats vs. Republicans be so acrimonious in this country? It doesn’t mean we have to compromise what we believe or show an agreement with what others have to say. Jesus reached out to tax collectors and sinners, but that didn’t make Him less of who He was.
We exist for God’s pleasure. To put so much stock in our human leaders diminishes God’s sovereignty and ultimate authority. Unfortunately, there are some folks out in Arizona who are learning the lesson the hard way.
Am I off base here? If I am, I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments.