I forgot about the presidential election.
Don’t get me wrong—I voted in the morning. But then I went home and forgot there was even an election happening until later that evening.
That’s the first time I’ve had such a thing happen since I’ve been old enough to vote. Usually, each presidential election carries with it a great number of worries about what will happen if my favored candidate doesn’t win.
Leading up to the 2016 election, I had more of these worries than ever before. Many people in our country seemed to feel the same, voicing strong opinions for one candidate and almost hatred for the other. Under those strong remarks on both sides lurked the motivation behind them—fear.
I feared greatly for my country, for the people in it, for the unborn and the religious. Being a selfish person, I mostly feared for myself as I imagined the grim future I might have to face should the more dangerous candidate, in my view, be elected.
But one Sunday morning a few weeks ago, the pastor at my church began a sermon series on “How Should We Then Vote.” In his kickoff sermon, he addressed the most important truth that we need to grasp to vote well: God is in control.
Sure, I’d heard that before in reference to this election. Even reminded myself of that truth over and over again. But the ramifications didn’t sink in until that Sunday morning.
God is truly in control of everything, which means that He’s prepared our circumstances for us and us for those circumstances. And we know that His purpose in those circumstances is good (Jeremiah 29:11). Everything that happens is moving one step closer to the supremacy of Jesus in all things, to His glory and ours through His.
I understood this truth mentally, but I hadn’t yet applied it in a practical way in my life. As a result, I still struggled with fear related to the presidential election. But if we truly believe that God controls everything, including our eternity, and that His plan is good, then that means one important thing—we should be joyous!
That’s the point of application that my pastor made in that sermon which transformed my thinking about the election and the state of our country. We need to stop complaining and start praising. After all, we are supposed to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). How will anyone know to ask if we’re complaining and sullen about the direction our country is going?
We have no reason to be depressed and no reason to fear. These circumstances, yes even the ones that appear bleak or dangerous to us, are part of God’s perfect plan. We can rejoice as we see His plan unfold. And we need to rejoice so that others will see the difference that knowing God makes.
The added blessing is that when we change our attitudes to that of joy at the unfolding of God’s plan, we lose our fear. That’s what happened to me in the final weeks leading up to the election and the reason I could forget it was even taking place for most of that day. My fear had gone, replaced by the joy of knowing that my God’s perfect and awesome plan was going to be brought about that day no matter what.
While this truth changed my view of the presidential election, it took me a bit longer to realize that the same problem and solution apply to other areas of my life. All the circumstances that happen in my life, the ups and downs, are part of God’s personal plan for me. I need to rejoice in all the circumstances He brings into my life, the good and the painful.
The beauty is, if I choose to rejoice in every moment of God’s plan for me, even during the trials He has for me, my fear will be cast out.
When your heart and mind are filled with faith and hope in the God who holds your forever, there is no room for fear.
What did God teach you this election year? How has God helped you face the big worries about troubles facing your country or the world? Please join the conversation!