Why politics frustrate me....
A few years back, I was all gung ho for politics. I was a dutiful conservative and watched "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity and Colmes" and loved all things "fair and balanced." I loved the "West Wing" (Democrat loving as it was) and "The American President" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." I was involved in Youth in Government and Mr. Dyches has told me since I was 15 that my name was going to be on a ballot one day and he was going to be there to vote for me. I wanted that! I would spent time debating politics and policy and decisions with my friends. I campaigned for politicians I supported in 2004. I had the buttons and the plans and the zeal for it all.
The problem is, the Holy Spirit was working in me (as He always is, hopefully). He was stirring up within me a sense of discontent with this political zeal of mine. See, the problem was this-I was spending more time trying to convince someone to vote for some man and in turn, spent MUCH less time talking with people about my faith. And it makes me wonder, as believers, how much time should we spend campaigning for politiciains?
I 100% believe that God is in control of all things-including elections. (And for a timely article on God's Providence in Elections, click here.) I also believe that our efforts in trying to turn out more voters and talk with people about the issues at stake are not void. I think that the Lord uses our efforts to cause His will to come about in politics as He does in all things. And I think that we absolutly need conservatives in the political arena.
But when a politician you support wins the race, the glory MUST go to God, not us and our own human efforts. And in those unfortunate situations when a democrat (sorry folks, but I'm a pretty hard core conservative) wins a race, the glory also MUST go to God. There cannot be thoughts of "If we had only worn a blue tie last Friday" or "If we had only passed out more buttons." No matter what human effort we put in, if it is not the Lord's will, it WILL NOT happen! (Think back to the days of hanging chads and pregnant chads. Despite all the effort put in by voter recounters to find all the ballots for Al Gore they could, George Bush still won.) So, no matter what the outcome, the glory must go to God. Period.
But, how involved in the campaigning process should we be? I feel like we should be "campaigning" for God five quadrillion times more than we should be for any politician. I mean, I don't think we should be out on the streets waving "Go God" signs or anything, but those 2 hours that we spend going door to door trying to convince people to vote for a man, how much more redeemable would that time be if instead we went and got a caramel apple cider with an unbeliever and spoke with him about the gospel of God? How much time do people spend sitting around debating policy and politics that could instead be spent in meditation and prayer for the Lord to make his might and power shown among this nation?
And one last thing. I've heard many conservative people pray for George Bush and for Dick Cheney and for other like minded leaders. But how many of us pray for Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry, or Barack Obama? Russell Moore writes "It is easy for Christians to pray for political figures who court our votes. There are several organizations out there devoted to encouraging believers to pray for President Bush. We are commanded to pray for President Bush. But our responsibility doesn't end there....It isn't easy to love and pray for someone who stands at odds with your worldview. But it pleases the God who wants all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
So yes, I care about politics. It shapes the world that I and my children will grow up in. I haven't missed voting in an election yet, and I rue the day that I do. (ahem, Kimmy) But more than that, I care about the glory of God. And if the glory of God can be manifested most in House with Nancy Pelosi as its Speaker, then my prayers, along with Russell Moore and his family's, will be for her.
Think about is this way. Any of the hotly contested elections in our nations history are just that...history. Most of the men are dead and the only people that really know anything about it are historians, librarians, and high school students. But, the cross. Friend, Christ died on the cross 2000 years ago and it is still a living, breathing, effecting thing. The cross alone will last. The cross alone will still matter in 200 years when Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons have long since ceased. Make your life about things that matter. The only thing that matters-to glorify God and enjoy him forever.