dire. “extremely serious or urgent; causing great fear or worry” (dictionary.com)
This upcoming presidential election could certainly be classified as “dire.” Some would even call it “apocalyptic” with predictions of imminent doom to America and even the world depending on whom is elected.
Why does it feel this way?
We could argue that the two major party candidates are the most unique, flawed, and untrustworthy in Amerian history. Both candidates’ “unfavorability” ratings are hovering around 60%. This election may ultimately hinge on which candidate seems the least flawed and least untrustworthy to the American people. The lesser of two evils, so to speak.
But as I reflect on this election (and pray fervently for God’s wisdom and mercy!), I think of two additional reasons why this election seems so dire.
Government has become involved in every aspect of our lives.
Regardless of your opinion on the role of government in a society, there can be no denying that the federal government has expanded its spending and involvement in our everyday lives as Americans.
The Founding Fathers envisioned a limited federal government that would primarily provide for a national defense, preserve public peace, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and conduct foreign affairs. Today, we have a federal government that subsidizes almost every thing we buy, use, and own. It directs our education, insures our health, provides our retirement, and offers over 2000 programs of assistance…while racking up over a trillion dollars in debt in the process.
The point is not to argue between capitalism and socialism but simply to point out that who runs our government is a bigger issue now than it was several generations ago.
Our government has become the Law more than submitting to the Law.
In 1644, Samuel Rutherford wrote a controversial book entitled Lex, Rex. It was so controversial that Rutherford was charged with high treason and his book was banned and burned in England. What was so controversial about it? Rutherford argued that there is no divine right of kings but that every king (or governmental leader) is under the authority of a higher Law.
In other words, the king (or government) is not the Law (Rex, Lex) but rather the king (or government), like its people, must submit to the Law (Lex, Rex).
Our system of government was founded on the principle of Lex, Rex. Our government is to submit to the Constitution which in turn is derived from the natural, universal Law of our Creator.
God’s Law > Constitution > Government
Instead, in more recent times, that equation has been changed. The concept of a universal Law rooted in God’s character has been denied and dismissed and the government has taken on the role of the interpreters and redefiners of the Constitution and of moral law itself. Thus, we are left with…
Government = “The Law” (or Rex, Lex)
The government today is the one who gets to define marriage, gender, life, civil rights, and liberty. And when the government begins to have that kind of power and authority then who is “in charge” becomes of preeminent importance.
The German philosopher Nietzsche envisioned a world in which there were no absolute truths or universal laws. In such a society, the only absolute is the “will to power.”
Whoever has the power makes the rules and rules the day.
This is the path we are on in America. Thus, we feel desperate to get our “candidate” into power because the consequences seem so, well, dire.
Imagine playing a team sport in which there is no agreed upon “rule book.” Instead each team spends the majority of their time fighting to get one of their guys into the role of “referee,” knowing that for a certain space of time the referee is the one who gets to make up the rules for the game. The game would cease to become a “friendly game.” It would become a vicious, manipulative battle and interrelational war.
Welcome to politics in postmodern America.
So what’s the solution?
A nation of people must be willing to acknowledge and submit to a universal Law, given by a gracious, sovereign Creator, in order to live in mutual peace.
Ultimately it’s a heart issue not a political one.
Thus, the solution is a heart one not a political one.
Whether America humbles itself and turns to God is not up to me…but whether I humble myself and turn to God is.
And that’s why I am on my knees.
Submitted to the King.
Dependent in prayer.
Hopeful (and joyful) because one day He will reign.