In the history of the United States of America we have held 58 Presidential elections prior to 2020. Just to give you some historical perspective, in 18 of those elections, the person who went on to the White House received LESS THAN 50% of the popular vote. In 47 of the 58 elections a swing of 5% would have put the losing candidate in the White House. That means that in pretty much every election we have had, half the country wants one thing and half want another.
Why do I point that out? In part it is because we seem to have a utter lack of historical perspective these days. Everything is Unprecedented, The Worst Ever, Like Nothing Ever Seen Before. That fact is, like Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun.
On Wednesday morning, or whenever this thing gets decided, half of the people in this country will feel as if they have won the powerball lottery and the next four years will be great and half will feel defeated, mortified and that the next four years will be the start of the apocalypse. This year more than ever that seems to be the case but it is not unique. I remember Christians being mortified when Bill Clinton got elected, especially the second time. But we survived. I remember people being incensed when Nixon was elected and we even survived that. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, we will survive and eventually thrive, no matter who wins. It is part of the reason we vote every four years. We get the chance to correct whatever mistakes we think we made. If we cannot survive and even thrive for four years under any president then we have bigger issues than who the president is.
No matter who wins the presidential election, (and I am writing before any polls have closed or announcements made), we will, or at least we should, do like we have done for the last 58 elections. We will continue this great experiment of a country we have that was unlike anything ever seen before its founding and has been the example that so many other countries have built their constitutions on. We will continue to be the country that unlike any other, people want to move to.
Yet I have one thing further to say as a follower of Jesus. No matter who wins, the Bible is clear that I am to pray for that person to be a great leader and to lead with wisdom and justice. I am also called to honor that person, which means none of the vindictive, biting, hateful things that so many people resort to in our era of social media, where you type things you would never say to a person’s face. And before you come up with some lame excuse for not honoring whoever is president, remember the people who wrote in the Bible that we are to honor anyone in leadership over us had Nero as an emperor, and he went on to use Christians as human tiki torches to light the streets of Rome. But they didn’t whine and complain about it. So suck it up. It also means never saying, “not my president” unless you have renounced your citizenship. It does mean loving anyone who voted otherwise, NO MATTER WHAT.
If you are a follower of Christ this is a time to remember that you have Jesus as your king and he calls you to love everyone, even those who you disagree with vehemently and even if they persecute you. And by persecute he didn’t mean they call you names. He meant enemies who want to take your life. You are to actually pray for them and bless them.
So no matter who wins this election, followers of Jesus should be filled with grace, humility, love for others, and a confidence that Jesus is still King and no matter what, we will survive and thrive and share the Good News of Jesus wherever and whenever.