It happens every four years here in the United States. People struggle to gain their party’s nomination t’for President, and then the two main nominees and a gaggle of other candidates engage in a campaign to see who will gain the power and prestige associated with the office of the President of the United States. At one time, people recognized the President as the most powerful man in the world. Depending on election results this year, that statement may need a slight modification. Millions, if not billions of dollars will be spent to obtain this office, this power.
The problem for most presidents is that this power usually comes with Congress as a thorn in their sides. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issues with the Supreme Court. The power one gains as President, as great as it is, is not unchecked. What many presidents fail to realize, or at least seem to, is that ultimately their power is checked by the God who controls all things. When people abuse their power, whether they be presidents, CEOs, or Driver’s License bureaucrats, God takes control. He may use other people, or He may use world events, but ultimately He will take control and give those abusing power what they really deserve. “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” (Psalm 62:11-12)
It’s easy to look at others whom we would say are “in power” and either praise them for their good use of power or revile them for their abuse of power. When we do that, we miss an important truth: whoever you are, you have power over someone. How do you use your power? The truth is that far too many people in this world don’t recognize that they have power, and don’t know how to use it. David gives us the key to using power correctly when he says, “…and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.” Here’s a hint Christian, if you want to use your power the way God does, you will show your power through unfailing love. That’s tough for us, especially in a political season. We want to talk about how bad the candidate we aren’t supporting is, or we want to make a point of telling everyone how bad both candidates are. Switching gears, when we go out to eat, we want to make sure that the waiter knows who the boss is. Power is seen as the ability to lord your position over others in this world and we willingly buy into it. God’s way of exercising power is through love, through grace.
This election seems to have been more bitter than most. I have never seen people from the same party attack each other like I have seen this year. In many cases we have seen Christians attack other Christians wondering how someone of faith could vote for either candidate or at least the other candidate than the one they support. Our job as followers of Christ is not to attack the candidates or each other; our job is to show unfailing love in the midst of this season. If we want to make statements about the campaign, we should speak positively about issues, or ask questions about those issues that concern God. (I have not always done this, I confess.) As Christians, we are most powerful when we are praying for those in authority, or those who might be in authority. God is more concerned with people than He is with nations. We need to pray that as a nation we would be wise in choosing leaders and we would find ways to care for people God would care for. Use the power of love that God has given to us.
Lord, our land is filled with bitterness and hatred over this election. Help me to seek You in the midst of it. Help me to lead others to seek You in the midst of it. Help each of us to use the power that You have given to us to make positive changes in our world.