I've gotten a lot of emails lately that make me feel as if the sky might fall depending on the outcome of tomorrow's election. So, have you voted yet? I have - only took me 25 minutes. The hours are counting down for election day and I hope that you too will choose to participate.
I want you to vote not because I'm convinced that one candidate will move us closer to God than the other - no candidate, political party, or form of the human system of government will usher us into the Kingdom of God. Sure, some forms have proven more beneficial than others, and some leaders are better than others. But the Old Testament is one giant case study that reveals god-following leaders (like Moses) bearing godly laws (like the 10 commandments) can't make man or society what God would have us be. We need the cross and the Spirit of God for that. I also recall the disciples mistakenly thinking Jesus came to set up and lead a political government. He corrected them.
Nor do I want you to vote because I'm convinced this is the most crucial time/election in history ever. Many feel that way right now, and they feel panic. This election is "historic" and there are serious crises going on in America. But the people of God have seen worse. Consider the 400 years of slavery in Egypt, or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., or the holocaust. But nothing that has ever happened in this world, or will happen, throws God off course. Eventually God's Kingdom will be the kingdom of the earth ... but not because we finally elected the right people to office and got all the laws written right, but rather because God vanquishes Satan.
I want you to vote because I want you to engage in your life, in your community, and in your culture. Vote not only for your next president but for your local and state government positions as well. Often times those leaders make a far great difference in our daily lives than who is sitting in the oval office.
I want you to vote because it is a privilege that many do not have, and it does make a difference. Many people suffer under dictatorships. Voting is a privilege that people have died for - both willingly and unwillingly. And we get to freely do it in this country.
I want you to vote because I think it's important that you think and pray through the issues, make your voice heard as best as you feel led, and then trust God to manage the outcome ... just as Daniel did in the last passage we read together. If you continue reading in Daniel, you'll see it revealed that God - not our president or kings - is ultimately in charge here. (See also Romans 13:1 linked here)
Finally, I want to leave you with a stirring thought from John Ortberg:
Imagine that we elected all the right people to all the right offices. President, Congress, governors, right down to the school board, city council members, and dog catcher. Let's imagine that all of these ideal office holders instituted all the right policies. Every piece of legislation—from zoning laws, to tax codes, to immigration policy, to crime bills—is just exactly the way you know it ought to be.
Would that usher in the kingdom of God?
Would the hearts of the parents be turned toward their children?
Would all marriages be models of faithful love?
Would greed and pride be legislated out of existence?
Would assistant pastors find senior pastors to be models of harmony and delight?
Would human beings now at last be able to master our impulses in the areas of sexuality, and anger, and narcissism?
Would you finally become the woman or man you know you ought to be?
In the words of theologian Macaulay Culkin: "I don't think so." Because no human system has the ability to change the human heart. Not even democracy, or capitalism, or post-modern-emergent-ancient-future-missionalism.
So, my friends, I'll go out and vote. But I don't expect the sky to fall, no matter which candidate is elected. (It will only fall if God allows it to, and even then He has a plan for its renewal.) And I don't look to my political leaders or our government to accomplish what only God can do - though I do want the best leaders possible and I care deeply about our country.
I know some will disagree with me here, and that's okay - we have freedom of speech. :) But I hope all will join me in praying for His kingdom to come and His will to be done in America, and on earth, as it is in heaven ... through His power and in His name.