“The Lord is my fortress! Don’t say to me, ‘Escape like a bird to the mountains!’ You tell me, ‘Watch out! Those evil people have put their arrows on their bows, and they are standing in the shadows, aiming at good people. What can an honest person do when everything crumbles?’” ~ Psalm 11:1-3 (CEV)
This lament sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I heard and read statements like it throughout the recent Presidential campaign—not only from the candidates, but from the people around me. I’ll admit that those thoughts crossed my mind more than once as well.
Presidential elections have a way of bringing out the worry in people, turning normally level-headed individuals into would-be “chicken-littles,” warning everyone how terrible the world will be if that “other” candidate wins.
But Psalm 11 offers us a different perspective. Look again at the opening line. David, the writer of this passage, places the most important detail up front, which, simply put, is this: In God I trust.
He starts with the unshakeable confidence that he can count on God’s faithfulness regardless of what’s going on around him. In speaking this truth first, David proves he doesn’t just believe in God, he trusts him.
Can we say the same?
Do we wring our hands over our decisions, worrying what will become of us after the inauguration? Or do we rejoice like David, knowing that our God sees all and works for our good? Do we truly trust God to shape our future, or do we depend on our government for that?
I acknowledge that our leaders influence the material aspects of our lives and culture, but I also know that politics will never offer lasting peace. Only God can do that.
Want proof? Consider these facts, reported in a May 2015 Washington Post article.
- Today, the Christian community in Latin America and Africa, alone, account for
1 billion people.
- One out of four Christians in the world presently is an Africa[n], and the Pew Research Center estimates that will grow [over the next decade].
- Demographers estimate that more Christian believers are found worshipping in China on any given Sunday than in the United States.
- In the last century, Christianity grew at twice the rate of population in [Asia].
Many of these believers live in an environment that is overwhelmingly hostile to their faith and under regimes that do not allow the free expression of religion, yet their numbers are growing exponentially. Why? Perhaps it’s because they have learned to place their trust in God above any loyalty to nation, creed, or cause.
Their hope does not rest on a political party, but on an eternal promise. They know, as we should, that “there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ….He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him” (Philippians 3:20-21, MSG).
As we watch the inauguration of a new President, we need to remember that our peace is found in God’s presence and our hope is found in his promise. And as we move forward, may the words “In God We Trust” be inscribed not only on our currency but also in our character.