Whose prayers got answered? Interpreting the Outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election
I’m sad and concerned today, not because my candidate lost the election.
No, I’m sad that so many people who didn’t vote for him are frightened, and I’m concerned by the insensitivity being displayed by SOME of those who claim to be Christians in response to their pain and confusion.
Please notice that I said ‘some,’ not ‘all.’ I think the first step both sides need to take toward reconciliation in the days ahead is to step away from polarizing assumptions, sweeping generalizations, stereotypes, and labels. But that’s another post…
Anyway, SOME who claim to be my brothers and sisters in Christ are witnessing ‘meltdowns’ of political opponents that, right or wrong, indicate despair, mocking them, then saying things like, “We’re taking our nation back” and “God answered our prayers.”
Well, maybe He did. Maybe He didn’t.
The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective (James 5:16), but it also says that what comes out of a person’s mouth reveals what’s in their heart (Luke 6:45).
IF you are one of the SOME who are praising God in one breath and then mocking, belittling, or wounding people in the next, odds are, you are not the person whose prayers were answered (James 3:10-12), even if you are happy with the outcome.
It could have been someone who cast their vote for Hillary whose prayers were answered, not those prayers asking for Hillary to win, perhaps, but those asking for God’s will to be done.
Doubt that could happen? I don’t.
I know passionate, devoted Christians who fell in every voting category possible this election, and I don’t believe for a second that every person who withheld their vote from Trump was godless with evil intent any more than I want people to think that I’m godless with evil intent because I voted for him.
So, what was ‘God’s will’ for this election?
Well, I don’t believe anyone can say with certainty that it was for Trump to win. There was too much in him and the way he handled himself for us to call him ‘God’s man.’ Likewise, I don’t think anyone can say with certainty that it was God’s will for Hillary to win. There is too much in her and the way she handles herself for us to call her ‘God’s woman.’ All of this being true, none of us will ever know for sure whether our own prayers to see a specific candidate in the White House were answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no,’ and none of us can claim righteousness using the election’s outcome as confirmation. To do so would be both arrogant and foolish.
Is Trump’s election a reward? Is Trump’s election a punishment?
I don’t know.
Maybe it’s both. Maybe it’s neither.
Whatever the case, I do know it’s an opportunity, an opportunity for those of us who claim to be Christians, regardless of political affiliation, to prove God good, the power of the Holy Spirit real, the Gospel of Jesus Christ true, and our faith genuine.
Of course, we won’t be able to rely on words anymore. In the ears of so many, Christian rings hollow, love stirs doubt, and Evangelical raises suspicion.
We’ll have to move beyond words, demonstrating grace by treating people better than even they think they deserve to be treated and extending mercy by showing kind, compassionate restraint even when we believe someone to be wrong or out of line.
We’ll have to serve as Jesus served. Humbly. Generously. Without showing favoritism.
Only then will God’s power be revealed. Only then will He be glorified, His character and will upheld, in our lives.
What’s God’s will for this election? I believe it’s exactly that.