A True Presidential Election Heartbreak

Nov 5, 2020 by David Fowler

A True Presidential Election Heartbreak
As I thought about the presidential election results, I could not help but think of these words in the so-called “southern national anthem,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, “Now Watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you?” In a certain sort of way the election results do not bother me nor does my conscience regarding how I voted. 
But I need to lay bare my soul as to what does bother me about this election cycle; it actually breaks my heart in four different, but significant ways.

Why I Am at Peace.

The election results do not bother me for one simple reason: “Known to God from eternity are all His works (Acts 15:18)[1], and He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). 
To be honest, this would be a horrifying thought—a God of such power that the Psalmist would say “our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases”—if it were not for the final revelation God made of Himself “in His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-3). 
It was on the cross that God demonstrated to those who believe in Him that when things appear to have gone most wrong, even from a people-of-God perspective—the death of the one they thought would be their Messiah and salvation—that God, in Christ, had actually “finished” what was needed to bring salvation (John 19:30). 
By opening my eyes to the truth about God’s work on the cross, God graciously brought me to the same understanding and knowledge of God to which He finally brought the arrogant, boastful King Nebuchadnezzar, namely, that “no one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:35).
How at peace must be that One who Scripture reveals God to be! And this is the peace of God that passes understanding that those who know God in Christ are given (John 14:27).

The First Thing That Breaks My Heart.

That being said, what first breaks my heart has been the lack of peace among those who profess to know God. From what I can see in Scripture, this often shows one of two things: Either they don’t really know God, despite their morally upright behavior, or, as the old Puritans would have said, they are “living below their privileges.”  
The first are those of whom Paul would say “have a form of godliness but deny its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). Paul then says, “from such people turn away” if they are our spiritual leaders. Why? Because those who teach the gospel should know that it is the “gospel of peace” and be the mature who demonstrate it in times of turmoil (Romans 6:15; Ephesians 6:15).
The latter are those about whom he would often say, “Do you not know?” (Romans 6:3, 6:16, 7:1, 11:2, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 5:6, 6:2-3, 9, 15-16-19, 7:16, 9:13). Not knowing what we should know and living by it is what the Puritans meant.
My heart breaks for those who are in either of those camps.

The Second Thing that Breaks My Heart.

What also has broken my heart is seeing all those who do not know God looking to the outcome of the election for their peace. 
For some, Trump winning meant they would have to leave the country; no peace for them was to be found here. For others, Biden winning meant no peace and, to be honest, I think it had to do mostly with fear of economic disruption and material loss. 
What breaks my heart is that those in both camps are looking for peace to come from that which has no peace inherent it. They are those of whom Isaiah spoke: “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
Trying to get peace from a person who we think has some kind of overarching power and measure of control because he is president and aligns with our political views is akin to getting blood from a turnip becauseit is blood-red throughout. 
For them, politics is their savior, and that savior will always disappoint. That breaks my heart.

The Third Thing That Breaks My Heart.

Going back to the Christian side of fear, how I most often saw that fear expressed was that (1) God’s will was to end abortion and His will in that regard would be frustrated (based on a video I was sent) or (2) there would be some increased form of Christian persecution or exclusion from or marginalization within society. 
For them, these things were on the line if Christians did not vote for Trump. Here is where my heart breaks perhaps the most. 
First, I would plead with them to refer back to what I first said about God’ sovereignty and goodness. Second, I would also urge those within the eschatological camp that claim to know God’s future plans for Trump and America to consider more carefully what has been given to us to know about God and His purposes and what He has not given us to know (Deuteronomy 29: 29).
Does God’s heart break when people kill their unborn children? You bet it does. He will eventually bring it to an end. God is not mocked and His perfect, holy will regarding all things will be done. 
However, might we not also believe (assume) that God’s purpose is to bring His judgment down on and destroy a nation that condones such killing instead of removing the scourge of abortion from among us? 
If so, maybe Biden and Harris are as much God’s instrument in this regard as Nebuchadnezzar was in destroying the Temple in 587 B.C. and carting off God’s people to Babylon. Was this not “according to the counsel of His will?” It sure was.
Persecution and Exclusion
Does God use suffering to perfect His people? He surely does. The author of Hebrews wrote of Jesus, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). 
So, might we not as easily believe (assume) that Biden and Harris are God’s anointed to bring about our sanctification as some assumed Trump was His anointed to save us from that? 
If so, maybe Biden is as much God’s instrument for the spread of the gospel as was the persecution of the early church that led to the diaspora. Was this persecution and dispersion not “according to the counsel of His will?” It sure was.
Fear Engendered by the Sin of Presumption
When we look to the only sure word we have from God—His written Word and the Incarnate Word—it seems to me that God has not given us to know when or how He will go about ending abortion or whether it is or is not time for Him to refine His people through fiery trials. 
Again, that is part of the teaching of the Cross: What looks like it could not possibly be God’s will was, in fact, God’s will (Acts 4:27-29). In fact, remember that when Peter told Jesus that he should not suffer and die, Jesus said to him, Get behind me, Satan!” (Mark 8:33)
That something now happening is good or bad according to God’s revelation of what is good or bad is not a sure basis for knowing what God is doing or planning to do in and through that situation; it is only a sure basis for us to judge whether what is being done by those doing it is, in itself, good or bad. 
We must be very careful about the sin of presumption (Proverbs 19:13) when it comes to saying we know what God is or is not doing in the course of a history. All we are given to know is that it is always “according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). 
Paul gives plenty of warnings about those who think they have some kind of special knowledge (Colossians 2:18; Romans 2:20, 10:2; 1 Corinthians 13:2, 1 Timothy 1:5-7, 6:20; 2 Timothy 3:7) and then stir up strife and dissention with it. In fact, he warned us “not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other” 1 Corinthians 4:6. If that was true then, is it now less true? I think not.
When Christians hear someone say they know for sure what God is doing and what He is planning to do, we need to be like “those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Act 17:11). 
Sure, we can come to know somewhat of God Himself through His works of providence (Psalm 11:2, Romans 1:20), but the final and clear revelation of Him and His eternal purposes is in His Son (Hebrews 1: 1-2).  It is Him we are exhorted to know most of and best (Ephesians 1:17, 4:13, Philippians 3:8, Colossians 1:10, 2:2-3, 3:10, 2 Peter 1:2, 3:18).
It pains me to write such things, and that is why I have provided so much Scripture today. My opinion is worthless; only God’s word is secure and everlasting.

What Breaks My Heart the Most.

But what makes my heart break the most is that often messages like those I’ve described end with fear.

When fear is where the Christian’s message stops, when the Christian’s message leaves people in fear or moves and motivates them to act only out of fear, then that message denies the gospel. It is a different gospel. 
How can I make such a strong statement? Only because I have God’s Word on it. “There is no fear in love,” the Apostle John wrote, and a gospel that ends with fear and motivates to action from a place of fear denies that “God’s love is perfect and that perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
And this really breaks my heart the most.

[i] I would plead with any who might think I am saying that it doesn’t matter if we vote or how we vote, am saying there are no objective scriptural criteria upon which we can base our vote, or am implying that we should be godless pragmatists to read last week’s commentary. Any such conclusion is wrong.

[ii]All scripture quotations are from the New King James Version

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

Subscribe to Email Updates


Donate to FACT

Make a Donation