We see those spy movies all the time. The foreign government seems to know what our government (the good guys of course) is doing every step of the way. Then the answer becomes clear: a low level clerk who happens to have access to information is found to be the lover of a spy for the foreign government. They are, in fact, working for the enemy without knowing it. When they confront him, or her, they can’t believe it, but they love their country and will do whatever it takes to fix things. The rest of the book/movie revolves around all that needs to be done to catch the spy.
Every four years we have an election cycle. During that time people tend to get excited about one candidate or another for president. “This one’s going to change things for good!” In most cases, that candidate gets knocked out in the primaries and many in the Church bemoan the fact that we will have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Some will remind us that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Others will remind us that God used Cyrus. This year especially, perhaps because the person I supported got knocked out early in the primaries, I have realized that in the eternal scheme of things, elections are not that important. The problem is that we have forgotten the relationship between the church and the authorities. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
As Paul dealt with the hostile Roman authorities, he realized that he wasn’t battling with them; he was battling against spiritual forces. In Rome, the ruling authority was often the strongest military man. The bureaucracy ran most of the day to day things – unless they fell out of favor with the emperor. Government could change from day to day, month to month, or year to year. In the midst of that, the battle Paul was fighting was for the souls and the spirits of all people. Frank Peretti in his book, “This Present Darkness,” described the spiritual realm and the battles that were going on in the midst of everyday problems. Perhaps he over stated the situation, but in our battle to deliver the good news about God’s grace the difficulties we run into truly do have spiritual origins. We should be reminded that if a problem is spiritual, it cannot be fixed by a law. That doesn’t mean I am against having laws, but it does mean that laws, even if they are complied with, don’t fix the human heart.
No matter who becomes President, wins Senate or Congressional seats, or Governorships, or… evil will still persist throughout government. The “right” Supreme Court Justice(s) have still made bad decisions. This is true, because our battle is not against flesh and blood and if we put too much hope in the systems of this world to change people we are, in essence, working with the enemy who seeks to blind people to the spiritual realities of life. Government has a purpose: to restrain evildoers. At the same time, government with too much power can restrain those who do what is right. Government really is not our friend – perhaps especially when “we” seem to be in power. Government is at times a reluctant ally allowing us the freedom to proclaim God’s grace. When government becomes an enemy, which it has been throughout Christian history, our response should be to pray for those in power and continue to proclaim the grace of God to those who need to hear the message of forgiveness through Jesus.
Lord God, I do pray for our country. I pray for our president and ask that You empower him these last days in office. I pray for the person who will be our next president. Soften their heart. Help us to continue to proclaim Your grace to a hurting world no matter what the government is like.