The current political race is beginning to feel like a lose-lose proposition for a lot of Americans.
As good citizens, we’ve voted and made our opinions known. Yet the reality of it is coming down to two people broadly disliked, even within their own parties.
We find ourselves not knowing what to do.
We’ve done everything we can outside of discarding our own due process. That includes symbolic acts of protest, but these are mostly token in nature, and done for dramatic effect, like how often folks threaten to leave the country if this or that candidate gets elected (they never do). Imagine what it would have sounded like for Paul to say, “If Caligula stays in office any longer, I’m moving out of the empire!” Naturally, serious Christians are controlled by nobler impulses than emotions related to a politician we don’t like.
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Tony Evans, who said, “For those of you who are prone to put your trust in donkeys or elephants, I have news for you: Jesus Christ is coming back. And He’s not coming back to take sides, He’s coming back to take over!”
Rev. 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
No, the future seriously doesn’t belong to donkeys and elephants. In fact, these verses make it look as if all the rules we’ve invented to run the world are going to vanish and be relegated to the “bad memories” pile. The games we play with truth today will come to an end—every sort of subterfuge, secret motive, and long-buried deed. In some way for better or for worse, God will centrally figure into the life of every human being who has ever lived.
And as for the confusing present, when the fate of our nation seems to teeter on the edge of electoral votes? Jesus commands for us the same as He has for all the saints who have lived and endured previous worldly regimes.
Go to God and “Pray like this,” He said to the disciples: “Your kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). He directed them away from the current governmental and national intrigues of Roman occupied Israel to a radical focus on His own kingdom.
He didn’t mention Israel as a practical synonym for the kingdom. He could easily have done so—“Let your kingdom come through Israel” or even more direct, “Let Israel come.”
The holy land had been overrun with heartless hypocritical religionists, nationalist zealots, liberal infidels, and sinners who had given up even the pretense of following the Mosaic law. For sure, Israel needed prayer.
Instead, Jesus left the term “kingdom” profound and transcendent. He chose not to define it so easily. We then must put together his composite teachings and parables throughout the gospels to arrive at what He had in mind: a realm of eternal life and authority, peace, righteousness, justice, and love, all issuing out of God in the Holy Spirit, and summed up in Christ.
This kingdom is perfect and needs no prayer…but the coming in of it does!
- Pray the divine life of His kingdom comes, since human beings believe books, YouTube videos, and talk show gurus who tell them it is delusional to believe in a life other than their own failing existence.
- Pray the authority of His kingdom comes, because even serious Christians reject the lordship of Christ in hidden matters, as well as the open ones out in the public forum.
- Pray the peace of His kingdom comes, because we’ve pursued the peace of this world and become stressed beyond belief; we’ve often settled for slivers of worldly unity at the expense of truth and righteousness.
- Pray the justice of His kingdom comes, because justice has been minimized to whatever cause wins the most media coverage or generates popular ascendancy.
- Pray the love of His kingdom would come, because the world devalues us into objects of pleasure and use, and does not understand the kind of affection that translates into true self-sacrifice.
- Pray the kingdom of the Son of His love would come, so all would know it is greater than a mere patchwork of beautiful concepts, and summed up in a glorious Person, Jesus Christ.
This is not to say we do nothing but pray. That would run contrary to the many verses charging us unto good works. But more than anything else, prayer suggests a focus on what we really believe in and what we really want.
John, the aged apostle understood this. In response to his own exile, to the precarious situation of the churches, and to a world in violent flux, he closed out the Bible with a three word prayer.
Come, Lord Jesus!