It’s 2022. I try to sample left and right wing news outlets. Mostly, I watch them fill my Twitter feed and I glance at headlines. Lately I’ve seen headlines throughout the spectrum that many believe the House of Representatives will change parties and it is thought so will the Senate. Reminds me of what happened in 1994. Such a thing fills some with dread and others with glee. I wish it wasn’t so; people either weep and gnash teeth or toast with great glee about election outcomes. Seems like elections should leave us with a bitter sweet taste in our mouths.
Lately this is driven with two Branches of Government under the control of one party often leading to one-sided feeding frenzies as if the best place to govern is either the far-right or the far-left. That’s been the case this year (though Arizona and West Virginia have been thorny for the Democrats). In the conservative wing of the nation, a swing back away from this hard-left will be viewed as a welcome event. Too welcome, I imagine.
Yet, back in 2016 when I was talking to colleagues who were eager for a Trump victory I reminded them that should he win, I predicted a rise in nationalism yet should he lose I predicted a revival in the church. Good for the nation on one hand, and good for the church on the other (if “good” for the church = hard times; think: Canada). I’m not doing a victory lap but I wasn’t wrong.
Many politically conservative Christians (and some churches) found in Trump a rescue of sorts since a thriving USA would somehow guarantee a healthy church. We are living the opposite now, I imagine. President Biden’s victory and the ensuing hurricane of efforts to transform our nation into something resembling an unnamed island in William Golding’s imagination have created huge momentum to wrestle the levers of power away from the current regime. This is not surprising but it is as dangerous as it was in 2016.
Here’s the problem. If we are not careful, we will trade one form of gridlock and acrimony for another. We’ve already started to hear the rumblings of pay-back investigations and even impeachment. It has been so tiring and embarrassing to watch the current regime ride roughshod over the opposing party but will the opposite result be any better? Progressives love this year and conservatives hate it; will next year be the reverse? And is that all we can ever expect?
I have five suggestions for prayer.
#1. Pray that if you are a conservative you won’t be too overjoyed if Congress changes color to red. Pray that if you are a progressive you won’t despair.
The ends don’t govern. They never have. Bill Clinton survived and the government did some good things because he woke up to a Republican Congress and he didn’t act the fool. Newt Gingrich was strident but respectful (mostly). Some things need to be conserved and some things need to be changed.
#2. Pray that there would be justice as needed and temperance all around.
People have lied and cheated. Agencies (e.g., FBI, DOJ, OSHA) have been used for political purposes. That needs to be stopped. But temperately. Some hate the USA but most in Congress and agencies don’t. We need honestly and humility and it can happen. The USA is still the greatest experiment in self-government in history.
#3. Pray that liars will be revealed and that people will tell the truth about things.
I’m so sick of social media fact-checkers. We need to pray that people will just tell the freakin truth. That liars will be made known and those who tell the truth will become the new heroes. Sure, health care workers in the midst of COVID were courageous–will the next heroes be those who tell the truth?
#4. Pray that politicians would stop acting like the end of the world is simply an election cycle away.
The sound bites that offer up world-ending rhetoric are ridiculous. No one is reading their Bible. Climate change, Russia-Ukraine, China-Taiwan, Keystone Pipeline, COVID–these aren’t easy but they won’t bring the end of the world. Christian: open your Bible and renew your confidence in the God who Himself upholds the world by the word of His power. This thing will end when He says so.
#5. Pray that the church would equip its members to bring salt and light to the culture.
No one but the church knows how this thing will end. The King is coming and He brings victory–victory! We who are in Him will rise and meet Him in the air and will watch as He vindicates His name and vanquishes His enemies. None will be left in defiance of the King! We don’t need to go into the culture with fear but with faith and the message of the gospel. The culture is reaching for saviors in its own image and we know they are weak. Let’s not join them in their striving but meet them instead with a message of salvation and courage.