The end of the election is less than a week away and soon conversations will shift from “Which candidate will win?” to “Okay, well, now what?”
It’s no secret that this election has been one of the most divisive and volatile races America has ever seen, and Christians across the spectrum have spoken out for and against nearly every hot button issue in the book. So as election day comes nearer, we have been wondering – does God care who we vote for?
This particular race has made this question harder to think through because both major party candidates have obvious flaws, and neither fit well into what most evangelicals would hope for as a president. What happens on November 9 when someone has won and the other has lost? How can we feel good about voting at all?
We can feel good about our vote if we approach voting as a civic sacrament, a privilege to weigh the options and affirm our convictions and opinions. We can feel good about our vote if we hold on to the truth that the president is important but not ultimate, that joys or sorrows are short-lived, that candidates (and voters) are deeply flawed sinners. We can feel good about our vote as engaged and participating citizens subject to the sovereignty of God regardless of the election’s outcome. Our hope isn’t in the ruler of the United States, though our present reality may seem to be dominated by him or her.
In an opinion piece in Christianity Today, Joel E. Landis and Timothy W. Taylor said, “By understanding that one is powerless over ultimate consequences, our civic engagement becomes an act of worship to a providential God who is sovereign over all things, politics included.”
God establishes authority, but earthly rulers are temporary. The Christian story throughout history is one of God’s children living under governments and rulers that clash with their beliefs. Even in hostile political environments, we can’t unplug ourselves from the process and proceed to complain about the results. We must live fully present and fully engaged lives by respecting the governmental process of voting and not withdrawing from the reality facing us.
In case you missed it, God’s not a Democrat or a Republican – so don’t try to pin that on your vote as justification. However, look at your options, make a choice, and know that your vote does not define who you are or who God is.