I don’t know about how everyone is coping with this election cycle but I believe this round of elections has produced the most insidious behavior our country has yet to witness and this includes both candidates and voters. Civility and problem-solving skills are in short supply while the corruption seems to be far-reaching.
Why does it seem like everything is out of control? Why all the hostility? Where is God in all of this? The easy answer to the first two questions is the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, however, a bit of elaboration may be in order to understand how our three adversaries fight against us.
Ken Myers, a Christian culture commentator, details how post-modern western culture exists with the foundational assumption that there is no purpose or intrinsic meaning in the universe – no ends or purposes in nature. The result is that we demand to have the social and psychic space to indulge in our passions and those are ultimately self-justified. That is why there is no limit to what our culture will do to or with nature.
Does this sound familiar?
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” Genesis 3:4.
Myers asserts the craving of the sinful nature to possess God’s power and knowledge of everything completely rebels against the relationship of the creation to the Creator and that God desires for His children to live in accord with the objective order of His creation, to have the freedom to escape from our passions, not become prisoners of them.
The devil used this seductive craving to tempt Eve because it was the very bane of his fall from grace, for he also desired to have the power of the Creator:
“You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” Ezekiel 28: 14-17a.
Everything apart from God’s plan results in death and destruction; it leads our society into darkness.
Ken Myers also observes that the most significant change in the last fifty years is that our institutions have reoriented to equip individuals with the power to assert one’s own account of meaning. Institutions, unfortunately, include “Christian” denominations that changed from viewing the world through God’s Word to accommodating the world into their confession and worship. As a result, “Christianized” people have adopted beliefs and practices that conflict with God’s will and yet, they expect a loving world that strives to peacefully coexist when, in fact, their path leads to corrupted wisdom and a fall from grace. This is how our adversaries create a world of confusion, violence, insolence, and death.
As for the answer to the question about God’s role in all of this, God has not abandoned His creation and dwells among us. How does this happen? God’s people have never had it easy. Romans 11 refers to the conversation between Elijah and God when Elijah expresses his anxiousness about seeming to be the only one that remains faithful to God and God responds with the following (verse 4): “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Paul reassures us in verse 2 of the same chapter that God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Jesus speaks in Matthew 24 that it is going to be so bad that even the elect, those who are part of God’s chosen nation, will be tempted to the extreme. But God will cut short those days of tribulation to preserve His church. We are the 21st century remnant.
Though the future seemed futile to Elijah at the time, God did give hope to Elijah and executed His judgement against the evil of that day. Similarly, God continues to demonstrate to the world His sovereign power in what seems to us as overwhelming conditions. God has a plan and still works His will through His creation. Though God’s children are the minority of this age, we are conquerors through Jesus. As St. Paul concluded in Romans 8, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we approach the election, don’t fall into the world’s trap. Keep your eyes on the real prize. The end of the church year is upon us and the Sunday readings will provide peace and confidence of our victory over the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, by fixing our eyes upon the vision of eternity that God has prepared for us, culminating in the last Sunday of the church year, the Sunday of Fulfillment or also celebrated as Christ the King Sunday. Be confident that God has us exactly where He wants us, connected directly to Him through His Word and Sacraments.
See you in church!
In His Service,