Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from the original blog post Erin Davis wrote in 2016. We thought it was just as timely now as it was then, and we pray you’re encouraged as you face this election season and think about the future.
For months I’ve been warming the bench. It seems every other writer on the surface of the globe has put on their battle gear and jumped into the fray of this election, but not me. I’ve haven’t written about it (and have done my very best not to think about it).
Let’s face it: it’s a mess. A mudslinging, name-calling, anxiety-inducing mess. And I don’t have the answers. I don’t know who will win. I don’t know what will happen when the dust settles. But I do know the chatter isn’t helping. I know that everyone firing off an opinion or reducing the political process to a meme is just making us all feel more agitated. So I’ve zipped my lips and assumed the position of an ostrich with her head in the sand.
But then I thought of you.
I thought of the millions of young women who will head to the polls for the very first time in a few days. I wondered if you’re feeling jaded, scared, or unsteady instead of excited or honored by the chance to vote.
I thought of the millions of young women who are still too young to vote but your thoughts about the issues are being developed in this firestorm. As you watch Christians forget that Jesus is our source of hope and act like the sky is falling because of a single election, is your faith shaken?
This is why I love young women so much. It is why writing for this blog remains one of the greatest joys of my life, because you lift my head. Knowing you are out there and reading this makes me want to yank my head out of the sand and square my shoulders to speak the truth. This is my one (and likely only) political post for this election cycle. Because I care about your hearts, I’m willing to acknowledge the elephant (and donkey) in the room. In the midst of this tornadic election, when the noise level is ferocious, here’s what I want you to hear.
I’m Sorry We’ve Blown It
I would imagine that being a non-voter or a new voter feels a bit like watching your parents fight. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. Maybe you just want to hunker down in your closet and hide.
As Christian voters, we’ve blown it this year. We’ve reduced complex conversations about really important issues to bumper-sticker thinking. We’ve talked disrespectfully about the people in authority over us, even though God’s Word clearly warns us not to (Rom. 13:1–7). We’ve implied that Christians who chose a different candidate than us have done so carelessly and without prayer. We’ve defined who we are based on our stance on a handful of issues instead of the gospel. But here’s where we’ve really missed the mark . . .
We’ve communicated that our hope is in a political process instead of in the Prince of Peace.
Please do as I say, not as we’ve done here. Grab onto this truth, and hold on for dear life:
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God (Ps. 146:3–5).
My Hopes for You
I know you’re not my girls (I have a house full of little boys!), but the Lord has given me a momma’s heart for you. If I could, I’d have your pictures on my refrigerator (that would need to be one huge fridge!). Out of that momma-love flows a lot of wishes and dreams. In the shadow of this election, here are my hopes for you.
I hope you learn that freedom is costly. I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché that freedom isn’t free. It’s true. It is expensive. We live in a land where we are free to pick our own leaders, and this time around it has cost us a level of sanity. But freedom is worth it.
When we wake up after election day, we will still be in a free country. Choosing between two leaders is a problem only free people get to face. But I’m not most interested in offering you a civics lesson here. This election is teaching a better parable that true freedom isn’t free. The opportunity to be free from sin and death cost Christ everything.
We are a broken people, who set our feet on the path to our own destruction through sin, but Jesus is the rescue chopper sent to save us. The cross stands as a monument to freedom throughout all of history. Yes, it was painful; the cost of freedom always is, but Jesus hung on the cross so that we could be truly free.
No political leader
No election cycle
No broken campaign promise . . .
. . . can ever put a single dent in the work that was done on the cross.
No matter what happens on election day, we can live truly free because of the gospel.
I hope you stand on solid ground. Politicians will come and go. Governments will rise and fall. Issues will wax and wane. This election will be just a footnote on the pages of history, a blip on the radar screen of eternity. But these things will remain:
The Word of God (Isa. 40:8).
The people of God (2 Tim. 2:12).
The kingdom of God (Psalm 10:16).
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. (Eccl. 3:14)
Everything else will give way, but the things of God will stand forever. I hope you plant your feet firmly there and are not moved by the ever-swirling winds of change.
I hope you handle each other’s hearts with care. The part about this election that makes me want to curl into the fetal position and bawl is how ugly it’s gotten inside the Church. Biden supporters have stated that a vote for Trump is anti-Christian, anti-gospel, anti-biblical. Trump supporters have yelled the same thing back.
My hunch is that if God wanted us to hang all of our hopes on one candidate, He would have taken the time to spell out which one in His Word. It’s not like Him to ask us to play a giant version of whack-a-mole, leaving us to guess what His will is.
Romans 12:2 promises us that we can know the perfect will of God, but we seem to have fast-forwarded past the beginning of the verse.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We’ve forgotten that God calls His children to disagree differently than non-Christians. He asks us to see ourselves and brothers and sisters in the same family (John 1:12–13). Do brothers and sisters fight? You betcha! Do they love each other still? They most certainly do.
In the years ahead, I hope you treat each other better than we have. I hope you take God’s words literally and become doers, not hearers only.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:9–21).
If you raced through that chunk of Scripture, would you mind circling back? Let it sink into your gut. Go ahead and think about all the ways this isn’t what we are seeing in the Church right now, but don’t stop there. Ask the Lord to help you do it differently. Ask Him to raise up a generation of believers who love each other more than politics or policy. Ask Him to use you to turn the tide.
Future voters, I believe in you because I believe in the God who formed you. I’m praying like crazy that He will use you to change our broken world with the message of the gospel.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast (Ps. 119:90).