What's Going To Happen?
A biblical response to election anxiety.
Around this time of year, particularly an election year, many Americans’ thoughts are filled with fear and uncertainty about the future. Who will win the election? What will happen when they do? What will happen to us?? A recent survey revealed that 68% of American adults are significantly stressed out by the election. What does the Bible have to say about that? Let's find out!
For months now, Americans are inundated with political ads, messages, phone calls, mail, etc. It seems like the closer we get to election day, the louder they get! Going to my mailbox feels like walking into the middle of an increasingly uncomfortable argument between people who desperately want to convince me that the other person is a worse option.
In addition to these arguing voices, I start to hear my voice added to the mix, asking questions like, “are we going to be ok?” I begin to wrestle with fear and anxiety over the future. If I’m honest, the voices of fear and anxiety in me can be louder than any political ad, even those with all caps across the front.
My hope today is that we can dig into the Bible together and be reassured by the voice of the One we need to hear the most. I need to listen to His voice and gain His perspective to stand on something firm instead of drowning in my uncertainty. So let’s tackle a few fears together!
Fear of the Unknown Future
The first fear I deal with is the kind that comes from an unknown future. The year 2020 has had its fair share of surprises around each corner, and not all of them have been particularly pleasant. At this point, I would say there’s a decent amount of general anxiety over what the headline will be tomorrow. When you add on top of that, something more specific to be anxious about, like “what will I wake up to on Wednesday, November 4th”! Thankfully, Jesus isn’t interested in shaming us when we feel overwhelmed and anxious; He wants us to find hope in Him.
In a sermon in Matthew 6, Jesus reassures us that if God takes care of the birds and flowers, he will undoubtedly take care of us! So there’s no need to be anxious! He says, “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” In other words, why are you chasing after tomorrow already? You have to survive today first! (Sorry, that’s maybe more the tired parent speaking than what Jesus meant). He says this in the context of telling us how God cares for us and will take care of us tomorrow, just like He is doing today.
In addition to not being anxious about tomorrow, Jesus also tells us what to pursue today! He says, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Today, I should seek to live righteously and pursue His kingdom. Tomorrow, for followers of Jesus, doesn’t have to be something to fear. When we consider our struggles today in the light of eternity, the apostle Paul says they will seem light and momentary. Today is for us to walk with Jesus, and tomorrow is one day closer to His return.
Fear of Losing Treasure
In addition to an unknown future, I think there’s also just a general fear of losing. You can probably fill in the blank with a handful of things you’re afraid of losing, but let's talk about a few categories we might find some common ground.
In America particularly, I think there’s a genuine fear of losing our treasure or maybe put another way, we’re afraid of losing our comfort. When surveyed about the issue driving us to the polls this November, do you know the top issue was brought up? The economy. On almost all the other issues listed, it swung wide to the right or the left, but on this, we were united—we’re all worried about the economy. This came close to home for me a few months ago when the pandemic struck. I was consumed by the endless “what if” statements about how tomorrow might rob me of what I have today. You know those moths, rust, and thieves Jesus said destroy our treasures on earth? I found out I was terrified of them. I hadn’t realized how highly I treasured all of these things that had no eternal value.
Jesus talks a lot about treasure, especially our struggle with treasuring temporary things over eternal things. In Hebrews 13:5, the writer implores Christians to “keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Isn’t that good news!? He’s saying, “Don’t love money, love Jesus! Money will leave you!” All I have to do is glance at my bank account to see that my money is always leaving me. And one day, I will leave it behind whether I want to or not, but Jesus will never leave me! We have a treasure in Jesus that we cannot lose, no matter what tomorrow brings!
Fear of Losing Control
Second, I think many of us are afraid of losing control. You can see political advertising playing off that fear over the last few months, urging you to vote for the right candidates, lest we “lose control” of everything. Or perhaps that their candidates will get things “under control” in all the ways the opposition will surely fail. The world sure feels on the brink this year, in a way that I’ve never experienced, and all eyes are fixed on this potential shift of power in American politics to bring us back control.
Here’s the most important question for us to ask: what is God’s perspective on this? I desperately need a perspective shift around my desire for control because the way I’ve been looking at things is leaving me in fear.
Let’s look at this “shift of power” that I referenced a moment ago because that’s where we need to have a shift in perspective first. Perhaps an analogy is helpful. Imagine the country is a large sailing ship, and every few years, the passengers vote the crew into their positions. Aboard the ship, there is a perceived shift of power when the newly elected crew takes the helm, adjusts the rudder, and hoists the sail, but what has happened? Who still controls the sea, directs the tides, moves the wind, determines the weather?
Psalm 46:6 puts the nations in their proper perspective, saying:
 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts. (ESV)
I’m not saying the crew doesn’t matter! Good and wise leadership can make a big difference! I am saying we need to keep things in perspective. We need to remember that one day, it says in Isaiah 2:17:
 the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (ESV)
Let’s get personal with this for a moment because fear always has a way of worming deeper into our hearts that we realized. Maybe fear has made its way to an especially personal place with you, and the question you’re asking is “will I ever feel in control of my life again.” I think a biblical perspective shift is just what we need.
The Bible reminds us in several places that I never have and never will have control over my life. Psalm 144 says I am “like a breath,” and the days of my life are “like a passing shadow” compared to God, yet the writer (King David) is amazed that God still cares for Him!
In James 4, living with this illusion of control is called “boastful and arrogant.” It says:
 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (ESV)
It makes a difference to live in a reality where we are not in control, but the God who cares for us is. What a joy to live from a place of saying “if the Lord wills”! What a relief to let go of an illusion of control and recognize the greater hands that hold me today and for all my tomorrows.
Everything Hangs on This
One of the phrases that I hear thrown around often by both sides of the political aisle is that “everything hangs on this election.” Let me just address that for a moment by saying no—it doesn’t.
I’m not saying that elections don't matter or that you shouldn’t vote. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about this country’s future or the people who are leading it. I am saying, don’t let your sense of security hang on the outcome of those things. Make sure you’re standing on a foundation that is eternal and not temporary. Have a perspective like Paul, where he says, “we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Don’t give in to the fear that “everything hangs on this.” Don’t hang your hope for the future on the shoulders of men and women who are flawed and imperfect just like you and I. Instead, hang your hope for the future on Jesus! Love your neighbor no matter what yard signs they may have out front, and have peace in knowing that Jesus said: “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”
 Matthew 6:34
 Matthew 6:33
 2 Corinthians 4:17
 Matthew 6:19
Survey showing 80% of Americans feel the US is out of control: https://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/200266NBCWSJJune2020Poll.pdf
 Psalm 144:4
 2 Corinthians 5:1
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