I've never seen a more contentious election cycle in my short life as I'm seeing right now. Perhaps you feel the same way. As a Christian conservative I have great concerns for the future of America. I want to see our nation turn to God with a whole heart, weep over its sin, and humble itself in repentance. And being a Christian for nearly 33 years, knowing the history in the Bible, and always learning about the world, I know that its not presidents and lawmakers that bring about a nation's turnaround. Certainly, our leaders may have a hand in the legal things, as they should, but ultimately a country stands or falls on its culture, on it's worldview, on it's basic values and beliefs. It is from these foundational things that our politics spring. I see many people on both sides of the political aisle claiming the same thing. They say this election is about the future of America. But when is it not? I've seen both sides compare the opponent candidate to Hitler or some tin pot dictator. But these are over-hyped simplifications. Remember when Obama was suppose to destroy America? Are we still here? Is the church still here?
I'm not saying that things are not bad in some ways and that some of our freedoms have not eroded. I'm simply saying that politically we tend to over exaggerate our condition and the future if "the other guy" (or girl) comes to power.
Having lived in three countries, and trying to take a long view of our politics, I've come to a conclusion.
It won't get as bad as you think.
If I believed half the social media posts I see, Hillary will cause the downfall of America and Christians will become a persecuted class. Or Trump will have his finger on the button and get us into a war with Iran or introduce concentration camps for Muslims or some such nonsense. Take a moment, calm down, breathe normally, don't panic.
It won't get as bad as you think.
Remember the hype about Obama's elections? Is the church still here? Do we still meet every Sunday? Are pastors everywhere being censored or forced to not preach the Gospel? Yes, there are instances where Christians have been persecuted for speaking up in school, or their workplace. But do we have a widespread pandemic of Christian persecution of Americans facing prison time for telling someone about Jesus? No.
We do have a serious moral crisis in America. Our chief sin against man is abortion, the murder of babies for virtually any reason. Yes, we need the Supreme Court changed and the Congress changed to fix the law in this regard. But changing the law is not the same as national repentance for our sins. Making a sin hard to commit is not the same as refusing to sin because we care more about what is right than our own convenience.
Pornography, homosexuality, transgenderism, violence in the inner city, and so many other things we can list. We can pass laws and initiate programs to make these things harder to do. But none of that fixes the core of the problem. We have a heart problem. We have a sin problem. And regardless of who is president, politics can't fix our sin.
I've lived in three countries. I lived in one country where I had no political rights beyond the protection of an embassy. I could not protest. I could not vote. I could not campaign for godly leadership in that Muslim land. I lived in another country where I had no political rights and had no choice but to live under the socialist system I was dealt.
And neither were that bad.
No matter who we elect, America isn't about to turn into North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran. There will be certain things we may not like—but it's not the end of America as a people.
Christians the world over live in a variety of political and social systems. Some face mounting persecutions. Some have no rights. And some live just fine. Yet in these difficult and challenging situations, the church often thrives.
Consider China, a nation of 1.6 billion people. The church there has been persecuted by its government for more than 60 years. Yet in that time the church has grown 100 times. Consider India, where many Christians experience great difficulty. Yet in the last 15 years, 50 million people in India have given their lives to Christ. Consider Iran, where Christians face extreme persecution and prison. Yet the house church movement in Iran is 1 million strong and growing. Consider Saudi Arabia, where being a Christian can get your head cut off. Yet, it's believed the church there has about 180,000 adherents. And I could go on.
I'm not saying I want America to be like these nations. But I am saying that it won't get as bad as you think. We can expend our energies on politics and looking for the right leaders. Actually, we should do that. But we must not place our hope in what said leaders can accomplish. Consider King Josiah of Judah who engaged in sweeping reforms, exercising his power as king to rid the nation of idol worship and gross sin. Yet the judgment against Judah was never lifted because the people of Judah, regardless of their king, continued in their sin. Yet, even after their judgment they still existed as a people. Under foreign domination they were still Jews, their commitment to God increased, they thrived and multiplied and eventually their nation formed once again. As a people, they still exist today.
God will not judge America because of what kind of leader we have. He will judge America because of what kind of sin we have. Even if we lose our frame of government and our constitution (heaven forbid), we, as a people, will still be here. The church will still be here. And God will still be here and nothing can change that. Who will separate us?
I hope for a godly man or woman to lead America. But I don't trust and don't believe that such a person can save us. Or that such a person exists for our time. Our leaders are representative of who we are as a people. As a people, we are not good. I'm not throwing in the towel, so to speak. I'm saying that we still have hope, and we still have time, and we still have choices to make about our spiritual condition. But our spiritual condition won't find its solution in the Whitehouse. It will find its solution in the prayer house.