Staff Editorial: God is in control and not only when your candidate loses

Relying on Christ should not just take place when we think we need it or when elections roll around.

League of Women Voters of California [Creative Commons]

League of Women Voters of California [Creative Commons]

Chimes Staff, Writer

Christians have a funny habit of only acknowledging Jesus’ lordship over our political state when said state isn’t cooperating with our own political leanings. Never do we churn out as many Facebook statuses about praying for our leaders as we do just after being denied the one we would have chosen — and then we drop the issue of praying for leaders entirely until the next time we suffer a political defeat.

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election, it’s hard not to interpret all this language about Needing to Pray for Our President Now More Than Ever, and about Jesus Still Being In Control, as mere coping mechanisms employed by Christian Republicans trying hard to be gracious losers but also seeking outlets for expressing their disappointment. The rhetoric itself is admirable—of course we should be praying for our political leaders—but if we aren’t careful, the heart behind this rhetoric can be subtly destructive.

God’s sovereignty is typically acknowledged on Facebook when things don’t go our way, but rarely when they do. If Romney had won, a majority of Tuesday night’s Christian-Republican statuses would likely have been stuffed with excitement over a victorious political campaign. Most of the glory would likely go to Romney for swooping in to save the day, and to American voters for choosing “the right guy.” Would God be thanked? Probably. But would he be relied upon? Doubtful.

There is also a notable absence of calls for prayer coming from those at Biola who voted for Barack Obama — perhaps out of fear of being criticized for “causing” the need to pray for the president. By exhorting people to pray for God to right the “evil” wrought upon the country by Obama’s election, these prayer warriors effectively ostracize Christians who voted for Obama into isolated silence. This is only intensified by rhetoric absurdly proclaiming that Christians who support the president must somehow lack genuine faith.

While athletes are often scrutinized for expressing trust in God in victory but rarely in defeat, many people’s lives are the exact reverse. Along with disasters, scares and deaths come prayer vigils and crosses. When the scare subsides, so does the spirituality. Christian presence — not measured in buildings and media outlets, but in unforced community — is prominent at the intersection of pain and an acknowledgment of God. Meanwhile, why do so many Christians have a harder time gathering to celebrate weekly in church than they do to wonder sporadically at the bad stuff?

Biola, we challenge you to pray for our leaders and be gracious citizens not only at pivotal points such as elections, and certainly not only when your preferred candidate falls to his opponent. Please don’t fall back on spiritual talk just for coping purposes, and then neglect to live accordingly as soon as the alleged trauma ends. Will we still be exhorting each other to pray for the president in six months? How about in 2014? It would be beautiful if we were—no matter who the president is.

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