There’s palpable tension in the air as we approach the presidential elections. It’s not only because the two candidates are polarizing the country in ways not seen in my lifetime. It’s not only because a businessman with no political experience is running against the first female presidential nominee. And, it’s not only because many people feel that neither candidate is a viable option.
Much of what people are sensing is that which is looming under the surface. The election concerns are simply the visibly churning waters above. What exactly does lie beneath?
1. A largely manufactured race war. Yes, there is widespread and severe economic inequality. Yes, there are serious issues that need to be addressed between communities and police departments nationwide. And yes, there is real racism in American society. But none of these are necessarily new phenomena.
What is new is that more Americans are on some form of welfare than ever before. This fuels the fatherless family syndrome, especially in impoverished communities. Poverty and desperate conditions perpetuate the frustration that often gets aimed at police. And, as always happens, every group is blaming some other group (tribe) for its problems. This is further encouraged when rock-throwing rioters are referred to as “peaceful protesters.”
2. The rise of Islamic terrorism in the US. Of course, this follows on the heels of what’s already occurring in Europe. Yes, Islamic terrorism is a legitimate threat. Yes, it is wrong to assume every Muslim is a terrorist. And yes, many Muslims eagerly embrace the American political system and don’t support sharia law.
But the fact is that government policy and the media keep downplaying the notion that a Muslim could possibly be involved when a terror attack occurs. Then, when it emerges that the suspect is indeed a radicalized Muslim, the obvious motives are obscured under the smog of political correctness. In the meantime, nothing is done to secure the borders or improve the vetting process. And everyone seems shocked when it happens again…and again…and again.
3. The economy is teetering on the brink. Yes, a few select individuals and a number of corporations are doing very well financially. Yes, there are a handful of factories that actually still produce something. And yes, the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency.
Nevertheless, nearly half of all unemployed Americans have given up looking for work. Tent cities are burgeoning in and around numerous cities. The middle class is shrinking, and food costs have risen exponentially. The national debt has doubled since 2008. An increasing number of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. And, adding insult to injury, real wages haven’t risen significantly in decades.
Just one of these three factors–racial tension, Islamic terrorism and economic hardship–is enough to destabilize a society when left unaddressed. But when all three exist within a nation, well, you have the perfect powder keg begging for the stray spark.
It’s no wonder people are feeling uneasy. These are uneasy times.
It’s no wonder Americans are clamoring for a new leader, someone who will reverse the course the country is on.
It’s no wonder that people are fearful for the future. There’s a lot of scary stuff going on out there.
Truth be told, I’m not sure that things can be reversed. Sometimes a nation goes so far that there is no turning back, even if a sincere and wise leader happens to be given the reins of power. Philosopher kings, however, are in short supply.
The types of news stories that I observed once a month a few years ago, or once a week in 2015, I now see daily. It would be foolish to ignore what’s going on in our society. It would be unwise to pretend that looming problems will simply go away.
And I would be fearful if it weren’t for the assurances I have as a Christian. Jesus said,
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on…for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
Pretty simple, right? God knows we have needs. God knows the future. And, God is in control.
These verses don’t mean that things won’t get really bad. They certainly have in other parts of the world at various times in history. However, God promises to take care of those who trust and obey Him:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
And that is the part of the message that is so often ignored.
The question is not: Are you ready to meet the uncertain future in your own limited strength and finite wisdom? The question is: Are you right with God?
God is steadfast in His love and faithfulness toward His own people. Come what may, the Lord will never leave or forsake those who belong to Him.
Jesus died and rose again so that we might be reconciled to God. This is the best news in these uncertain times. This is the only news that will guarantee an eternally secure future.
So with the elections looming, riots increasing, terrorism on the rise, and economic growth stagnating, I can confidently say, by the grace of God, that I am not afraid. I know Who I am trusting for my future security.
Scripture reference: Matthew 6:25-34