God’s will and elections

I can imagine last night there were scores of moms and dads that gathered around their TV-sets to watch the returns. They probably took their kids with them to vote – to show them how important it is that we are involved in decisions of who will govern this nation. Their kids settling in with them, perhaps some popcorn and Pepsi sitting around.
“Watch what God is going to do,” they might have said to their kids. “Watch how God honors the prayers of His people!” And we know, fervent prayers have been raised by scores of people for God of cause John McCain to win the presidency – that God’s will be accomplished, that Christian American will triumph even in the face of not-so-good poll results. Perhaps not their first choice, but he is the best they got.
“Watch as God accomplishes His will, and we know that God’s will is for a faithful man who upholds the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and America’s place as a shining city upon a hill,” the dad might say. God will honor the prayers of His people who pray against someone like Obama taking the reigns of power, against the godless secularists who are intent on ridding the Public Square of people of faith, against the Socialists who want to take our hard-earned money away from us and give to lazy people or funnel it into big-government, who will sanction sin by ending discrimination against homosexuals. God’s will is plain, because we know the Bible and the words of the Bible are quite easy to understand. Any God-fearing and God-loving Christian knows this!
So, they begin to watch the TV, Fox News, and the returns. It looks good at first. The parents say to their kids, “See! What did we tell you! If John McCain wins it is because God caused him to win!” But a little while later, things begin to change.
One of the kids looks up at his or her father or mother and says, “What’s happening mom/dad? Is God losing?” “No, of course not, son/daughter! God always comes through. Nothing can stand against the will of God. When things begin to look tough, that is when God shines all the stronger,” mom or dad might say. More states fall.
“Dad, McCain isn’t going to win, is he?” “No son, just have faith! When things are the most bleak, that is when God comes through all the more. He does this to show us humans that He is in control and that things like polls and TV commentators cannot thwart His will.” “Watch how God pulls out our victory!”
Then, they call it. Then, McCain gives a concession speech. No lawsuits trying to stop the Democrats from winning. No accusatory language of hanging chads or voter fraud by ACORN. McCain gave such a graceful and dignified speech. If he had acted like this throughout the campaign, perhaps he might have won.
What do the parents tell their children, now? Satan and the secularist thwarted God’s will? Maybe if you’re a good Arminian, but if you’re a good Calvinist… If it was God’s will that McCain win the presidency, what now? Is it God’s will that Obama won? “Isn’t God able to make His will to be done,” asks one of the kids. “Is Satan stronger than God?” “Are we all going to be put in jail because we are Christians? Are they going to make us believe in Darwinism or that homosexuals should be allowed to get married?” the kids might ask. Since, after all, the fear mongering by the politicized Religious Right has been astounding. What do they tell their children? “America” is now lost. American Family Association declared that if McCain loses it will mean the end of “American as we know it.” It will mean that our nation will be so terribly harmed that it will never be able to be corrected. (I have the e-mail sent out by Don Wildmon, chairman of AFA).
I’ve read and heard plenty of fervent prayers to God that go something like, “please, please let John McCain win!” I’ve heard Christians pleading with God to make McCain win. Why is it so hard simply to fervently pray, “Thy will be done!?” Why is it so difficult to not pray for our own agenda to be taken up by God and made real in the world, but rather to humble ourselves and think that what we know and what we believe may not be right – to pray God’s will be done and not our own!
There are a lot of people in America that are very depressed, today. A lot of people who believe that God’s very will was rejected by the country – we shook a fist in the face of God, last night. They are truly afraid that God’s punishment will now descend upon the United States. What they have a very difficult time believing is that the leaders of the politicized Religious Right or that they might have been wrong. Plainly and simply, wrong.
How much better is it to explain to our children that God’s will is not necessarily the implementation of social, political, or economic theory or systems, but in the living of life in humility, in grace, in mercy (which is “strength under control”), in simplicity. That regardless of who won the election, our Christian task is to pray for the man – this man of color, and some day a woman. “God’s will be done,” and I am certainly not smart or experienced enough to know that will in such a way to be able to tell my nieces and nephews which man or woman He wants to be president.
I don’t have kids. And, if I lived in Arkansas whether I am part of a gay couple or a co-habitating straight couple, I am now barred from adopting children. But of course, the good people of Arkansas voted for “God’s will to be done!,” and they know what that will is.
On an other note, Jessy Jackson was so taken with emotion last night while standing on the large field with thousands of other Chicagoans, that for a long time all he seemed to be able to do is hold his finger to his mouth and cry. Oprah Winfrey was there, too – tears in her eyes. I cannot begin to imagine what this is like to so many African Americans. Reading the headlines from around the world this is not just a happening in the lives of Americans – Obama’s teacher from Indonesia, the people of Obama Japan, the people from the village of his father in Kenya, of young people in India, of his step-brother in Africa – A MAN OF COLOR WILL BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE STRONGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. That, is an accomplishment!
Is it God’s will? I don’t know. I have no reason to believe it isn’t. I know of plenty of people who do not share my feelings. We shall see whether he can govern and/or whether others will allow him to govern.