The weight of our current election, the pandemic, and the tension in our nation tug at our hearts and our fears so passionately that we begin to think that following Jesus is somehow dependent on election results or a particular leader. This particular season has capitalized on that fear, so I would like to remind you of some helpful history.
When Jesus came to Israel, they were under Roman occupation, overseen by a despotic, cruel local leader. His practices were so pagan, so offensive that no one expected any legal support for the faith community. Instead, that government participated in the crucifixion of our Savior. In the years that followed, the Apostles died at the hands of government supported persecution. Believers were executed, conditions were harsh, and every follower had to weigh the cost of trusting Jesus.
Yet, the people we call the church exploded on the scene in those years, just as we are seeing thousands of churches birthed in places once called “the missionary graveyard” of the world. Oppressive regimes have not stopped the church of Jesus from loving neighbor, living by faith, and proclaiming the Gospel.
And the United States governmental leadership will not stop the church, regardless of who is in leadership. It may SIFT the church, but it cannot STOP it.
You see, no human authority can stop a person from praying. It can’t stop faith, hope, love, worship, or ministry. It can reshape it, make it more difficult, more costly, but that tends to SIFT the community of faith and only the genuine remain. What astounds me is the fear I see, as if this current election somehow will thwart God.
And if you feel that way, I must ask you, “Where have you placed your hope?” The Gospel transcends governments, historical eras, armies, and economics. Our society has given us comfort that few have ever afforded to churches. But those comforts affect the church, they don’t DEFINE the church, EMPOWER the church. The same Jesus who went to a Roman cross for us, will walk with us through the halls of government, legal challenges, and hardship. HE–not an elected official or a system of government no matter how good or bad–HE IS OUR HOPE!