By Dr. Richard Blackaby
Can we all take a collective deep breath? The 2016 presidential election is finally over! It is not an understatement to say this election process has been more grueling, acrimonious, unpredictable, and theologically challenging than any in recent memory. But it is finished. The question now is: what do we as Christians do the day after? Can I offer a few suggestions?
First, accept the result as the hand of God. Scripture indicates: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). God is sovereign over nations and we can trust His wisdom and love in what He ultimately allows. Americans have become notorious for refusing to accept results that seem unacceptable. If people’s favored candidate doesn’t win, they resist the decision, or set themselves up as fierce opponents, or threaten to leave the country! As a Christian, you may not have liked the result, but you need to accept it.
Second, don’t be afraid! Christians ought not to be gullible to conspiracy theories and doomsday predictors. The foremost reason is that our God is “High above all nations” (Ps. 113:4). The key is not who occupies the Oval Office but who sits on the throne of the heavens. That has not changed. Likewise, if you study the history of American elections since George Washington was first elected in 1789, there have been many times when dire warnings of apocalyptic catastrophe hovered over the newly elected president. Rarely, if ever, have the dire predictions been fulfilled. Eventually the new leaders embraced the challenge and the worst fears proved groundless. Don’t become someone driven more by fear-mongers than by the Holy Spirit!
Third, be gracious. Scripture exhorts: “Let your speech always be with grace” (Col. 4:6). In defeat, be gracious to the victors. In victory, be kind and gentle to those who lost. America is deeply divided. The last thing it needs is for Christians to add to that polarization by firing Social Media missiles to taunt and antagonize those who disagreed with you. There is no need to belittle those who voted differently than you did. Many sincere Christians agonized over which candidate to vote for. We can respect their effort without agreeing with their choice.
Fourth, pray for the new president. Scripture does not command us to pray for those we vote for. It commands us to pray for whoever is in government (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Regardless of who was elected president, they were going face enormous challenges. Every American has a vested interest in the next president doing an outstanding job. So we must pray fervently. Here are a few things to pray for in particular:
- Pray that God would surround the next president with godly, wise counselors. We live in a confusing, dangerous, complicated world. Our president needs wise, honest, godly counselors. When King David was transitioning national leadership to his son Solomon, he challenged the nation’s leaders to support the next leader and to give him their best (1 Chron. 28:1; 29:24). Much of Solomon’s early success is directly attributable to the fact that he had access to the wisest counsel available in the land. Pray that God would strategically place godly advisors around President Trump. Pray that outstanding leaders of integrity, skill, and wisdom will make themselves available to serve in the cabinet and key government posts.
- Pray that the next president will be open to heed and follow godly counsel! King David cautioned his son, “Know the God of your father; and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chron. 28:9). The American presidency is a herculean task. Even confident, outspoken leaders can be driven to a sense of inadequacy when facing the daunting national challenges. Pray that our new president will recognize his need and humbly seek godly counsel.
- Pray that God would protect the president in his early days from intrigue and crises so he has time to implement positive changes. King Solomon almost had his leadership come to a premature end when his older brother Adonijah intrigued against him (1 Kings 2:13-25). President George W. Bush had some of his early efforts hijacked by 9/11. Rather than implementing the positive societal changes he had intended, Bush had to focus on terrorism and the nation’s safety. President Trump will have a majority in the senate and House when he assumes office. Pray that he will make use of this rare opportunity to enact positive legislation. Pray that he will not be distracted by conflict and disputes within or outside his party. These are crucial days for the country.
- Pray for revival. Perhaps the greatest prayer in the Bible concerning revival occurred in the early years of Solomon’s leadership (2 Chron. 7:14). Accompanying the emergence of new national leaders comes new opportunities for the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work across the land. One thing that is clear from the recent election is that millions of Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of their life and their country. This provides an incredible opportunity for God’s people to jump into that void and to provide the answer. People are clamoring that life should be better than it is. Christians ought to seize the microphones of our day and boldly proclaim, “And it can be!” Certain moments in a nation’s history come along when revival comes close to breaking forth. Unfortunately, during these seasons, God’s people can become distracted and miss what the Holy Spirit is doing. Be fervently praying for God to use this painful, confusing era in American history to finally bring forth the national revival so many have been praying for.
Fifth, ask God how He wants you to live and serve Him differently after the
election. As Solomon was about to begin his rule, King David challenged the people: “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (1 Chron. 29:5). What a great question for us today! The success of our nation rests not on a president’s performance but on how effectively God’s people fulfill their mandate to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). Clearly what the Church in America has done in the past is not adequate for today! So take it upon yourself to ask the Lord, “Now that this election is behind us, what adjustments in my life are you asking me to make so I can be of maximum service for You?”
God’s people, by nature, must be optimists. How can you see Christ upon
His throne and not have hope? So enter this new season in our nation’s history with anticipation that God is at work. He is inviting you to join Him in His activity. He awaits your response.