The year 2020, it appears, is the year of fear.
As I write these words, there’s no emotion that seems to have gripped more hearts than fear. Despite all the things we might be afraid of (nuclear war, school shootings, national debt, rising suicide rates), what seems to be chattering more teeth than ever is the election.
It doesn’t matter whom you are for or against, what party you support or oppose, or what political animal is most likely to be bumper-stickered to your vehicle; people are afraid.
Republicans are afraid of the possible implications of President Trump’s impeachment, afraid of a Democratic sweep in November, afraid of being swept away in a sexual revolution, afraid of a liberal-leaning Supreme Court, afraid of the changing/trampling of religious liberties, afraid of short-term social solutions that leave America in long-term financial peril, and _________ (fill in the blank with the latest conservative fear).
Democrats are afraid of President Trump’s triumph over impeachment, afraid frustrated Americans will punish the left for the recent political partisanship, afraid of four more years of presidential tweets, afraid of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court, afraid of the changing/trampling of human dignity, afraid of short-term financial solutions that leave America in long-term social pain, and ___________. (You get the point.)
How about you? Are you afraid for our future?
Although I’m not as deeply political as some of my family members and friends, I will confess that I find some of the headlines unnerving. It’s hard to know whose opinion piece to believe these days, but everyone seems to be predicting a grim future if ________ stays in/loses power.
I think that’s why I adore the three words that changed my life (and led me to write an entire book).
That may sound like a sophomoric marketing pitch, but it isn’t. These three words honestly make a massive difference in my life when fear sits on the throne of my heart and rules over my feelings for my children’s future.
What are those three words? I’m glad you asked!
Word #1: GOD
The first, and most vital, word to conquer your election-year fear is GOD. Not a generic, run-of-the-mill god. Not even an officially approved, technically orthodox God. No, I’m thinking of a glorious, box-breaking, entirely enough GOD. The GOD so full of light that the ghouls of fear whimper and hide from his presence. The GOD so full of strength that he makes the strongest fear look as weak as my seventh grade self (think biceps as thin as straws). The GOD so full of wisdom and ability that he can take any political mess and use it for the good of his people.
And, yes, the word any from the previous sentence includes the mess that makes you afraid.
This GOD is better than your handpicked president. Better than a Congress that unanimously agrees with your convictions. Better than a debt-free America where everyone is safe and medically cared for.
Allow this basic logic to persuade your heart. Whatever you want/wish for/pray for politically is less than nothing next to GOD.
Word #2: Is
The GOD you just imagined is presently present. He is not the “I Was” of the past or the “I Will Be” once you’re in a better place. No, he is the great “I AM,” our “ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The phrase “ever-present” means that GOD will be present whenever _______ happens. There is no shift in culture, no partisan legislation, and no political power swing that can undo the present presence of GOD.
David, the shepherd/king of biblical times, lived under the terrifying reign of King Saul (where hostile tweets were the least of his problems) and then through the ugly uprising of his own ambitious son Absalom (who used shady marketing to win over the voters), yet he penned these famous words: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me ... You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:4,5).
David was not afraid, even in the dark valleys where his political enemies plotted and planned. Why not? “For you [GOD] are with me.” If this stunning GOD always “is,” then there is no reason to be afraid.
Word #3: Here
The GOD who takes away fear is not over “there” with them, but instead right “here” with you. If you’ve turned from your sin and trusted in GOD’s Son, Jesus, then “GOD is here” is your daily reality. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Nothing in 2020 has the power to shove GOD away from your side. An impeachment is impotent in that regard. Elections are unable to evict our King from the throne of your heart. Supreme courts and border policies have no say where GOD goes.
Brother or sister, that means that GOD is here. No matter what. No matter who. No matter when.
Those are the three words that can change your election-year fear.
Still struggling? Can I suggest reading the psalms, all 150 of them, before election night? Study how real the enemies of the ancient world were, how much fear they injected into the hearts of GOD’s people, and (most vitally) how David and friends knew exactly where to run to find peace -- the refuge of GOD’s presence.
They couldn’t control the political future. Neither can you. But every Christian can breathe deeply, find lasting peace, and rejoice at the reality that GOD is here.
Even during an election year.