Did you watch the results for the election this past year? I did.
I remember it vividly. My wife had gone to bed, but I sat, riveted to the news, as results came rolling in across the country. What had seemed in polling to be a sure thing for the democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, ended up being a huge victory for the political outsider Donald Trump.
I didn’t watch because I was particularly a fan for either candidate (far from it), but because I couldn’t believe the reactions people were having. In auditoriums of people who had come to celebrate what they thought would be the first female president of the United States sat thousands who looked like they just put down their dog. Weeping, cries, and looks of stunned disbelief. On the other side of the aisle, red hats were waved in the air, and joyous celebration took place.
First off, I want to say, I don’t want to discourage anyone from passion. It’s a privilege to live in a country where every four years we can use our voices to elect a new government. That’s pretty awesome. I don’t want people to be checked out of that process- it really is an honor to be able to vote. I realize the people sitting in those auditoriums travelled possibly hundreds of miles, spent long hours campaigning, and devoted their time, resources, and energy to what they hoped would happen. I get that there is going to be a big reaction.
The weeks following didn’t stop the reaction. Riots, protesting, and more tears. People were upset. They thought that their freedoms might be taken away by a man that many would probably say they despised. Their hope for a better life was being ripped away.
That’s what I want to talk about. Where do we find our hope? Ultimately there are two categories of what we can place our hope in- the Creator, or the created. God, or everything else. We live in a society where the rise of the “nones” people with no religious or spiritual affiliation, are substantially on the rise. So when we consider where people find their hope, a large portion could be assumed to be searching for a higher power that isn’t God to put it in, i.e. the government.
It makes sense. If you don’t have faith that your life is worth something intrinsically- cared for, created and sustained by a being higher than yourself, then you pretty quickly have to find something else to find hope in. Something that can provide a sense of security and peace, in a world where those can be hard to come by.
Before we go further, I do want to make a quick note- in the weeks following the election, I heard the word privilege thrown out a lot. That of course me, as a straight, white, educated male would have no issue of Donald Trump being elected, because it would not affect me the same way. I understand that (as much as I can), and I don’t think those assertions are invalid. And honestly, when it comes to hope, my faith is definitely a privilege.
It’s a privileged position to not have to be thrown by the waves of constant change in government because I have faith in a King who is just and good. It is a privilege to not have overwhelming anxiety about the future of my family, because I know that although the office of President will change continually, we are secure in our place as the children of God. It is a privilege to know that no matter what sinful man or woman takes the office of the presidency, we have a God who is perfect, and grace-filled.
Here’s the thing about this privilege though—it isn’t reserved for anyone based on skin color, or gender, or sexual orientation. All are welcome to the table of God. All who place their faith in Jesus Christ, knowing they are sinful beings but equally knowing that they have a redeemer who took our sin upon himself, so that we could be right with God again.
Right now, we are a little over 6 months in to the Trump administration. It’s been a tumultuous time to say the least. This past month, a new White House Director of Communication was hired, and then a few weeks later, sacked. Even if you are a Trump supporter through and through, you’re probably feeling a bit uneasy about the various personnel moves happening right now in the White House. It’s tough to maintain hope in uncertainty.
When considering where to place your ultimate hope, I think there are some helpful qualifications to consider.
Does your hope last forever? Or can it be gone in a second? If we place our hope in governments, leaders, or even spouses, your hope can be gone in the blink of an eye. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” When you put your hope in the Creator, you can be assured that it is eternal, and not the victim of human whim.
No matter which political party you place your hope in, I can guarantee this: they probably don’t love you back. Love is meant to be reciprocal, otherwise it becomes an idol of worship. Democrats may care about the same causes you do, and Republicans may treat money the way you agree with, but do they know you? Your hopes and dreams? Fears, mistakes, and successes? God knows all these things. John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Your hope deserves to be put in One who knows and loves you intimately.
Is it working? You may have voted in every election you’ve been able to. Have you experienced joy that comes from placing your hope in elected officials? Maybe you’ve been happy at times, but I would bet you’ve also been frustrated. Your hope deserves to be placed in something that does not fail. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” God is effective then, now, and all days to come.
Your hope doesn’t have to be depressing. Your source of hope should never make you feel like a failure, or scared, or as if all hope is lost. No matter who wins the next election, and no matter how these next few years go, good or bad, you don’t have to take a gamble with your hope. When you place it in Jesus Christ, I guarantee it will be many things, but never a bad investment.