Finding Our Bearings in a Donald Trump America
Yesterday, Christians across the nation awoke with tempered spirits and broken hearts. For weeks and months on end, we have prayed for America and watched with bated breath. Yesterday, all of the unrest, the backbiting, the frustration, and the turmoil came to a head. What would be the culmination of what has been a most horrific display of corruption, immorality, and ugly politics? Who would “win”?
Of course, no one can feign ignorance, as the headlines are everywhere. Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton in a surprising turn of events. Donald Trump is the 45th President-Elect of the United States of America.
As genuine followers of Christ, what are we to do with this news? Some proclaim that God has heard our prayers, that Trump’s defeat of Clinton means that we can make America great again. Others grieve and shake their heads in consternation at the reality that a man of Donald Trump’s caliber will now lead our nation. Reactions range from joy to sorrow, from elation to horror. But is there a true and proper response for us as Christians, one that might even unify us, no matter on which side of the political aisle we may fall?
From yesterday morning to today, what has really changed for the genuine follower of Christ? In reality, nothing.
If this election has shown us anything, it has revealed an American Church that has allowed herself to become impotent and irrelevant to a postmodern, amoral society. As a refiner places a precious metal to the fire and watches the impurities bubble to the surface, our God and Refiner has allowed the Church to face His purifying fire. We have seen our own compromises, our own false contentment, our own sinfulness bubble to the surface. For weeks and months, now, we have prayed and humbled ourselves. We have called out to God in brokenness and cried out for His intervention. Today, our state of brokenness and our desperate need for God remains the same. United under a King who reigns forever over an eternal Kingdom, our allegiance does not change: we are still to be the light of the world.
Thousands of years ago, a man named Daniel lived in a foreign land. As a captive to the Babylonian people, Daniel had the favor of God upon him, and through divine intervention and supernatural blessing, Daniel rose to power within the Babylonian government. He was a top administrator in the king’s government, a wise man amongst the people, and he held great power and esteem in the land.
Daniel was a Jew. He was, in today’s terms, a minority. He was a powerful government official in a land that was not his own. Interestingly, though he personally prospered, Daniel did not forget the humble position of his nation. Even in his personal power and prosperity, he grieved for his people, who were broken and scattered by the literal captivity that held them. Daniel was not fooled by the comfort and power that surrounded him; he did not fall victim to the facade of his own powerful position. Daniel remembered that this land was not his home.
Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 informs our steps as we move forward. Though powerful in the land, Daniel remembered whose he really was, and he walked with God still. He did not rejoice in his esteem, but he wept for the sins of his people. He did not pretend all was well, but he petitioned God for mercy:
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame…Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
This morning, we wake up, and some believe that God has answered desperate prayers for our nation in the person of Donald Trump. Others believe that our new leader is ill-qualified to pull our nation from the ashes. But as genuine followers of Christ, our political beliefs and expectations aren’t what will unify us. What unifies us is the reality that this world is not our home. Rich or poor, powerful or weak, Democrat or Republican (or neither), we are God’s children. We are Americans by nationality, but we are Christ followers by identity.
Though a different leader has been chosen for the American people than was expected, the mission of His Church remains the same. The same humility and brokenness we have had for the past days, weeks, and months must continue to propel us forward as we face a new day. The orphan still needs a family; the poor still need clothes; the hungry still need food. The socially ostracized and politically exploited still need someone to stand in the gap for them.
And most importantly, a lost and hopeless world still needs to hear the powerful, life-giving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God did not allow Trump to win to make America great again. In fact, there is much unknown as we proceed with Donald Trump as our president-elect. But as we emerge from this tumultuous election, may the church of Jesus Christ be wiser and humbled and more ready to do God’s work than ever before. To a world that is disenchanted by the church and organized religion, may we be unified in our calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. May we be the tangible love of Christ to a world that is hurting and divided.
This is our mission; He is our hope!