Keeping Political Gains and Losses in Biblical Perspective
By Marcelo Tolopilo
“Surely the end of all things is at hand.” The world would shortly come to an apocalyptic end and God – fed up with a reprobate earth – would establish His uncompromising rule once and for all. Such were my musings on the cold and shady side of my mind that frigid Autumn evening. I had just experienced my first unfavorable outcome in a general election. I was devastated! Months earlier my candidate seemed like a shoe-in and as time eroded his political lead I refused to believe he would lose. I was certain the American people would see the light – as I clearly had – and vote the “right” man into office. Well, they didn’t. What were they thinking?
When I played by myself as a kid I always managed to win. Army men, cards, board games, you name it, I won it (I had an incredible record against imaginary foes). But the reason I managed to win was because I always stacked the odds in my favor. If by some freak twist of chance “My Side” started to lose, I would simply wipe out the “other side,” scrap the cards, clear the board, and start all over until right (ME) prevailed. True, winning wasn’t very satisfying when there was no risk of failure, but it sure beat the pants out of losing.
As I watched the political coverage on that cold November night, the incontestable results poured in and settled like quick drying cement all around me. The “other side” had won and there was no way I could clear the board and start over. The results were unyielding and final. By the time eight o’clock rolled around (Pacific Time) you could stick a fork in this election because it was done! I was shocked and indignant.
Surely the end of all things was at hand! The eschatological clock had taken a dramatic lunge forward signaling doom for mankind. And boy did we deserve it! I was not a happy camper and I was not thinking complimentary thoughts of the “other side.” Hard as it may seem to believe, my emotions went down hill from there – I was sinning! Increasingly, my dark thoughts enveloped my heart and clouded my thinking. I was ripe for a spiritual lesson and a serious attitudinal correction.
Mesmerized by the flood of images and endless spin of pundits I couldn’t think straight. I needed to turn my eyes toward heaven but like a moth drawn to a consuming flame I couldn’t pull myself away from the mind twisting glow of the television. Fortunately, God had foreseen my political tantrum and planned a little time for just Him and me to talk.
By the Lord’s gracious providence on that election night, I had to pick up a friend from the San Diego airport – about an hour’s drive from our home – and I was forced to abandon the depressing coverage that was making me so agitated . . . how twisted is that? With a protest and huff of disgust, I turned off the television, grumbled out to my car and began the drive to Lindbergh Field.
Perhaps it was the foreboding darkness of the evening and unusual chill of the night air that quickly cooled and dimmed my angry thoughts but within minutes I was on my way down emotionally. I was not merely calming down, I was beginning to spiral down in a macabre and fatalistic mix of despondency and detached resignation “Oh well, there goes the national neighborhood. Maybe it’s time to plan that move to Australia.” I consider myself a rational person, a man in charge of his emotions, yet on that sullen fall night I allowed myself to stagger into a dark and disconsolate place where the wick of hope flickers dimly.
It was there, in the gloomiest recesses of my unredeemed mind, that the penetrating light of God’s word pierced the darkness with the rays of truth and hope. In the blink of an eye the Spirit of God brought the simple and profound words of Psalm 103:19 to the forefront of my thinking, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all.” It was as though the Lord was asking me “Who do you think is in control Marcelo? I still reign!”
With the words of scripture enlightening my mind, a thick fog lifted from my soul and I began to sing with my mouth and spirit every song of praise I could remember – I sang and worshipped from Temecula to San Diego. God was clearly reminding me through His word that He was still the sovereign King whose throne is fixed above all authority. He reigns over all the affairs of men and is moving history toward one great and inexorable conclusion “. . . the summing up of all things in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10).
No election, coup, disaster, or spiritual force can prevent that from coming to pass. What marvelous and encouraging truth this is! That one verse and experience has forever changed the way I look at the political landscape. Sure I still grieve when I see our country and elected officials make decisions that clearly violate God’s word. I also rejoice when righteousness prevails through our democratic process, but regardless of how the political chips may fall, I know that my Lord is King and that He is orchestrating history toward one great climax.
Psalm 2 speaks prophetically of God enthroning His Son in Zion as King. Yes, earthly rulers have and will oppose God’s program with their inane and pathetic little efforts, but God is going to do what God is going to do. No one, no thing can ward off His hand and prevent Him from accomplishing His holy will. God, beloved, is in control! Psalm 2 ends with a wonderfully appropriate exhortation, “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
So, how did your political agenda fare this fall? Whatever the outcome remember this, God is in control of this little blue ball, and He has great plans for those who put their trust in Him. One day He will take back this world from the defeated usurper whose time is running out. He will establish His throne forever and we will experience His good and perfect rule for eternity. In whom have you put your trust? Remember where your hope lies and rejoice in Him!