I am writing this on Tuesday, Voting Day, and my hands tremble a little as I write. On the positive side, we are seeing record numbers of voters turning out for this election. To that I say, “Way to go!” On the other side, a large portion of those voting are doing so out of emotion. We are definitely polarized as a nation, but I don’t believe everyone is completely clear on why they’ve chosen the position they have. For too many years, we have drawn the lines of separation based on party. The last two Presidents our country has employed have dramatically broadened and deepened those lines. Now, to be a Democrat can mean anything from a person sympathetic to Communism to a person who hates Trump. Somewhere in between is the traditional Democrat statement of beliefs. To be a Republican can mean anything from a KKK sympathizer to someone who hates the media and wants Trump to “Keep America Great.” When I think about the Presidents who stand out in the 20th century, I think about Reagan and JFK’s bold stance against Communism and Kennedy’s race to the moon. I think about FDR and his radical efforts to rebuild a nation destroyed by the Depression and his bold stance against the Nazi’s. These men were great leaders, but they didn’t reshape a nation. They led a nation galvanized by war and pain, but they didn’t reinvent anything. They allowed our guiding document to form their words, ideas and strategies and built from there. I’m afraid we’ve lost that spectrum. Certainly there were disagreements within the parties of these men, but they all loved their country more than themselves.
I don’t have many answers when it comes to our current political questions. I’m afraid I have more questions than solutions. I can analyze the parties all day long, and I can tell you I don’t like either of the extremes I’m seeing. I don’t like the nationalistic lines that are being drawn: “You aren’t a true American if you don’t vote this way!” I don’t like the riots and the hatred that is being spewed. I can lament the apparent absence of figures like Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and FDR, but I don’t see what good that will do. We still have the Constitution and we still have crises that need leaders and answers.
I believe the Church has the answer that can meet both the need for leaders and answers. And it is found in our guiding document. But to step into that kind of environment, we need people who love the Lord more than they love themselves. We cannot have leaders who love the spotlight for the spotlight’s sake. Leaders who get wrapped up in their emotions and manipulate their followers for the sake of applause can stay at home. We need people, men and women, who so attach themselves to God’s truth that it shapes their hearts and minds and lives on a daily basis. We need people who know the Lord and can live that relationship out, not just reference it for a press statement. Above all, we need people who love the Lord more than themselves and will choose to lead out of that love. Now I’m going to pull an Ephesians and say all of the things I’m saying refer to the Church and not just the government.
We need leaders who can lead us to lament our sin and listen to the Lord as He speaks to us. The Bible gives us ample opportunity to hear from God. His voice is heard in the mountain breeze like Elijah experienced Him. It’s heard through an angel like Joshua heard Him. It’s heard in a dream like Joseph or Daniel. But the most common method God chooses to speak to His people is through His Word. The greatest need we have right now as a nation is for leaders who will be humble before the Lord and lead us to His Word so we can hear from Him. We need a strong batch of servant leaders.
I have a deep respect for the office of President and a strong patriotic bent toward our nation. Some of my favorite moments in my 40 years of living have been spent grieving in our National Cemeteries, walking our battlefields, reliving history in our great historic towns and swelling with pride as I study our Founding Fathers. The country we live in, the documents that bind us and the patriotism that drives us is nothing short of a miracle. I feel we are closer to losing that than we have been since the days of the Civil War. There isn’t a seat of Justice powerful enough, a Congressional Chamber deep enough or an executive wise enough to lead us out of the mess we are in right now. Our only hope is to hear from the Lord. If I am remembering correctly, the Church is the primary place His Word is proclaimed on a weekly basis in villages, towns and cities across our nation. If we would but listen to THAT VOICE and heed His warnings, we would see a change.
I’m not so sure our people want a change, though. I’m starting to think we like to fight more than we like to move forward in unity. We say we’re sick of the hatred and the war language but then we like it on Facebook and “Amen” it on the news. Being American isn’t voting blue or red. Being American is voting…period. Being American isn’t reserving the right to fight whenever and whomever we choose; anyone who disagrees with us or doesn’t like the way we live or move or breathe. Being American is laying down our disagreements and choosing to move forward in unity. Is there anyone out there who can lead us down that path? If so, it’s time for them to step up to the plate and start swinging.