Right around dinnertime, on Tuesday evening, I jumped into my PJ’s, stocked up on my yummy snacks that would sustain me for the long haul, and hunkered down next to my husband on the couch to watch the outcome of the election. Around 11 o’clock, his eyes wouldn’t stay open anymore, so he went to bed with a final farewell of “See you tomorrow when Hillary is probably president.” We both thought it just seemed the way the election would go. So, four hours later, it was with great surprise, (after an obscene amount of snacks to keep me awake and a flurry of texts to my sister to make sure she was seeing this, too), that I witnessed Donald Trump walking onto the stage to make his acceptance speech as President-Elect.
Even after the surprising results, my husband just kind of said, “Wow,” and then continued on with life. But I, on the other hand, have been glued to my phone, watching the nation’s various and sundry reactions. When he asked me on our date night, last night, “Why have you spent so much time reading and reading about Donald Trump the past four days?” My response was “How could I not?!?” So I filled him in on the things that were happening, the things being said, the fears being expressed. So many opinions, so many directions that our nation is finding a group to unite with, who share the same anger, the same conclusions. I told him about:
Confusion about the media’s role in all of this
Wide-sweeping conclusions about why people voted the way they did and what that means about the American people
So I told those things to Mr. Fall Asleep at 11 on the Election Night Caleb, and he finally realized why I was willing to spend so much time reading about all of the drama. He said it started making him feel nervous.
I'll let him tell you more in his own words:
The events make me feel unsettled. It makes me think, “What is happening to our country? What will people’s responses be? Will this country be a safe place for my children to grow up? Are the best years for living in America over?”
Just as the questions were making my anxiety level rise, I had an “eye-of-the-emotional-hurricane” moment - a thought that introduced some peace into my stormy feelings:
Jesus has done things for me that are relevant to how I process the U.S. election results.
My anxiety level started dropping as I mulled over this thought and came up with a list of 5 ways that my post-election thinking should be directed by what Jesus has accomplished for me. (I also included some songs and verses for further reflection.) (BTW...I don't think that these 5 things solve the world's political problems. I also don't mean to suggest that Christians should be "above" or "unaffected" or "uninvolved" in what's going on politically. They're just thoughts that can serve as an anchor in the middle of some upheaval.)
1- I have an advocate that will never fail me. Friends and family may fail me. Politicians and campaigns may fail. Governments may fail. The one who holds all things together does not have the capacity to fail me.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling...God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. ...Be still, and know that I am God." -Psalm 46
2- I can have peace. I can care deeply about a country and be concerned for its condition. Yet in the middle of what feels chaotic and out-of-control, I can find peace. Jesus gives peace that’s beyond my understanding.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16
3- I’m safe and I will ALWAYS be safe. No country, neighborhood, or elected official can make me more safe. No hate, riot, or extremist group can ever threaten my safety. Jesus has secured for me all the safety I’ll ever need.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me" -Psalm 27
4- My future is hopeful. Good is waiting for me at every step of my life’s journey. An elected official’s promises and policies do not have the power to increase or decrease the amount of goodness that will come to me in life.
"They will be my people, and I will be their God. ...I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them." -Jeremiah 32
5- I have what I need and I will ALWAYS have what I need. Furthermore, elected officials and their policies, can NEVER change my “I’m-provided-for” reality. Jesus has secured for me all the provision I’ll ever need.
"Jesus...we need you. Our country needs you. Our friends and neighbors and fellow citizens need you. Thank you that you are big. Thank you that what overwhelms us is not overwhelming to you. Thank you that you are, for us, a solid place to stand. Fill us with your peace. Help us to feel the things that you feel about people, our country, and these modern day issues. Use us and fill us with your love and your light so that we can be instruments of your healing in a broken world."