My 2 Cents About the Upcoming Election
Written July 18, 2016
As November and the elections will soon be upon us I thought it might be good to say a few words about my thoughts on the ongoing Presidential race and my plans on voting in November.
Now to be clear, this isn’t an article about who I’m voting for and who I think you should vote for because, quite frankly, I have not made up my mind yet. In fact, there is probably going to be a tornado or two that will run through the political landscape between now and November so my and your opinions might change dramatically by then. What I’d like to do is share some of the guiding principles and plans that I have that will be the pathway which I will use to finding out who I will ultimately vote for in this election. Basically, I have a five-step plan for figuring out who to vote for, here is my process.
First, I plan on praying a lot beforehand. Whenever I look back in my life and think about prayer and the times that I have really prayed hard about things I clearly see that those events are what went very smoothly. Bathing things in prayer is one of the smartest things we can do when it comes to important and difficult decisions in our lives. Through prayer, we gain wisdom and lose anxiety. Through prayer, we gain focus and lose doubts. Prayer is the process by which we go to our Heavenly Father who made heaven and earth and has immeasurable wisdom and ask Him to help us in a very important choice. Furthermore, when you think about it, God is Who we desperately need on our side when considering our leaders and those who will govern over us. Just think about the many things God sees that we do not.
“Prayer is a preparation” – Andrew Jackson
God sees the heart of the candidate. One truth that I believe we can all agree on is that politicians are masterful at trying to sell themselves. Be it for governor, or State Representative or President, politicians try to convince us “I’m the best person for the job.”
Back when I was in middle school I remember watching an infomercial about this new and amazing paint stripper. I can’t remember the name of it but I do remember how they took layers and layers of paint off different pieces of furniture and revealed the wood underneath. What was interesting was seeing the true piece of furniture that was revealed after all the old paint and junk were removed from the top.
When we pray about whom we should vote for this year this is what I envision. God peeling back all the paint and stuff on the surface and allowing us to see the true person underneath because He is the only One who truly knows their hearts.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Also, God knows the future. He sees the beginning and the end of all things and therefore knows better than us who needs to hold a particular political office. We can only see what is happening now and what has happened in the past, but God knows the future. When seeking a candidate to vote for we are searching for someone who will be able to tackle the unknown future that is ahead. Who better than God who knows the future to guide us to the right person.
“remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,”
Also, we can notice that God sees a person’s potential. David is the poster child for God seeing potential where everyone else saw none. He was the youngest in his family who was not even invited to a ceremony where all of Jesse’s sons were supposed to be because no one thought he would be chosen king. Yet, God saw David’s heart, Israel’s future, and the potential David had to be a truly great king.
“Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
1 Samuel 16:11-12
God saw in David what no one else could and therefore chose him as the next king. When we pray about who to vote for we are asking God to show us the potential others have to be great and do great things in our nation and it is only God who can show that to us.
So my first step is to pray and pray a lot. I am convinced this is not something where thirty seconds worth of praying before walking into the voting booth is going to be enough, this is a matter where months are needed for God to prepare us, instruct us, and guide us to the right candidates. The good news is that we all have plenty of time to begin praying and seeking the face of God in this matter.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
As I pray and seek the Lord’s wisdom when it comes to how I cast my ballot I also plan on reading a lot beforehand. By that I mean I plan to investigate all the candidates, educate myself about who they are and familiarize myself with the issues at hand.
Yes, I know that will take a lot of time and effort but in thinking about all the work that I will have to do to gain this knowledge a simple truth hit me. Scripture places a high value on knowledge, learning, and understanding. Throughout the book of Proverbs there is a huge emphasis placed on wisdom and the pursuit of knowledge.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
The Psalmist urge us to study the Word of God and to have wisdom. In fact, throughout the Bible, there is a consistent message that ignorance is bad and knowledge and understanding are good. My plan is to get hold of a sample ballot and look at every candidate and research them. I plan on knowing what they say about themselves and what their opponents say about them. I want to know what they stand for and against. My goal is to have knowledge enough that I know I am not ignorant of what or who I cast a ballot.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
Now in reading about my plans to educate myself and my plans to pray you might be asking “Doesn’t prayer negate the need for anything more than a cursory glance at who is running? Won’t God supply you the wisdom that you need to make the right choice?” To that, I would reply God is completely capable of revealing to me or anyone the best candidate to vote for in an instant. However, to not spend time doing my due diligence in studying would dictate to God how He would do things, ignore the mind and capacity to learn that God has given me, promote laziness in my own life, and completely ignore the fact that the way in which God wants to show me the right choice to make is by studying.
What hope do we have of clearly hearing the voice of God and seeing the plan of God with the wax of ignorance in our ears and the blinders of prayerlessness over our eyes?
Back when I was in seventh grade I took drama and the class put on a play called “The Trail of Tears.” It was about the forced migration of the Cherokee nation from their lands east of the Mississippi into Oklahoma. I got to play Andrew Jackson who ordered the removal of all the Cherokee nation and my big part came in a scene in the White House where a delegate from the Cherokee nation came and wanted to talk about the migration. In this scene, my character completely shut the delegate down. I got to give a big speech and announced that “the entire Cherokee nation will be moved from North Carolina across the Mississippi and into Oklahoma.” It was my scene to shine. Now back in seventh grade I was not the person I am today. I was shy, timid, and public speaking was not something I considered a possible career option. To be true I was pretty scared of performing. What did I do? I studied my lines like my life depended on it. Not only did I study my lines but I studied the other person’s lines to the point where I knew them perfectly as well. I prepared myself so that I would have all the knowledge I needed would be readily available to me so that I could use whatever talent I had for drama, to the best of my ability.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
When I study those running for political office I am accumulating knowledge that I want the Holy Spirit to use to guide and direct my thoughts towards the right choice. I pray that God would use this information to guide me. I also have confidence in God’s supernatural power to direct me towards something I may not have seen or come into contact with someone that might reveal something I really need to know. So I plan on reading and learning what I can about who is running trusting that God will direct my heart and mind toward the right decision.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln
After praying and studying and deciding on who I will be voting for my next step is simply to vote with peace in my heart.
Whoever it is I am going to vote for I know this, I want to be able to go before my heavenly Father and say with peace in my heart this is who I voted for and to the best of my ability I brought You glory through the ballot I cast today.
I plan on taking into account where each candidate stands on moral, social, and political issues and weigh that against the clear teachings of the Bible. I plan on looking at their experience and the direction they wish to go with the power entrusted to them. I plan on looking at all this in the light of God Almighty to Whom I must give an account and cast my vote for those that I can stand before God and say I did my best to glorify You.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
You see there are no perfect candidates running for office this year. Jesus is not running to be a Senator and the Holy Spirit is not looking to be Governor of New York. When we choose who to vote for we are choosing imperfect beings that will do an imperfect job in an imperfect world. My goal is to find that person that I can stand before God, and with peace in my heart because of who that person is, and say this is who I voted for because of Your leading and my understanding of their character.
With that, I am going to cast my ballot and I am going to rest a lot afterwards. Let me explain why I say that. Back when George Bush and Al Gore were running for the Presidency do you remember all the craziness that happened because they weren’t sure who won Florida? It was nerve wracking not knowing who would be the next President. The stock market suffered and the whole nation was in a worried state of mind. I wonder how many hours of sleep were lost over not knowing how one state voted?
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Here’s my plan. On the night of the election when all the ballots are being counted and the states are casting their electoral votes and all the winners for the local races are being announced, I plan on going to bed early. I plan on doing that not because I don’t want to stay up super late for information that will be readily available in the morning, but rather because I know God is in control. The outcome of this election, the last election, or the next thousand elections will not affect God’s position as King of the universe one bit. It will not diminish His power, His sovereignty, or His plans for this world one bit. Scripture reminds us that the heart of the king is in His hand and I know that He can and will work with every elected official. So that night I will be going to be early, sleeping well, and not worrying about what might come because I know my God is greater than all that are in Washington.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Finally, after all is said and done, I plan on continuing to pray a lot afterwards. Scripture commands us that regardless of who occupies the seat of authority over us we should pray for them. So my task is to simply do what the Scripture command to pray for those in authority over us. My hope is that you will too. Prayer is a powerful tool for the Christian but it is only powerful when we use it.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
1 Timothy 2:1-6
So that is my plan, good or bad that is how I plan to move forward in choosing who I will vote for this year. My hope is that you have a plan too in choosing who you will vote for and regardless of who you are led to choose that you will join me in praying for them.
“Heavenly Father, I am so thankful today that You are King of the universe and are Almighty God. Your power is without equal and compared to all the power of man we are nothing compare to Your great might. As we come to a time of elections in our country I pray that You would assist us in casting our votes. Help us by Your great wisdom to chose those people that would rightly govern our nations and help us to live peaceably with all. In this time of uncertainty in our world, with wars raging, with terrorist attacks occurring, and strife within our nation over so many ideologies I pray that You would reign supreme in our hearts. Reign in our lives that we might know Your peace and that we might do Your will in this world. For our hearts’ desire is that we would glorify You in all things. Help us Lord we pray. Amen”