I have a lot of emotions this week. I feel anxious, scared, nervous, excited, but also, I feel strangely at peace too. In full honesty, I’ve had a lot of anger and frustration over the last few weeks. I’ve felt overwhelmed at this election. I’ve felt saddened by the deep division and hatred surrounding this election. I’ve felt enraged and disappointed to see some of the things that people I love and care for have posted, said, or believed. I’ve been confused at how people who read the same book I read, who love the same Lord I love could view things so differently than I do. I’ve been exhausted and ready for this week to come. Yet, I know that this week is not the end—not only is it probably not going to be the final result, not only is it probably going to be the beginning of so much more division, but also is it in no way the end of advocating, fighting for justice, or standing with those around us who are oppressed.
The other week I had a moment of true conviction. I was looking at Instagram and saw a post about ways we could pray for Nigeria who has been going through a monumental and important time (#endsars). My first thought was ‘that’s a copout, we need to act.’ And then in the next second I felt deep shame. Yet, this reflected to me something I think I have been allowing to build over the last few months—the thought that prayer is not enough. I am in no way saying that we shouldn’t advocate, protest, and act. But I had forgotten the most important action we can take—prayer. As Christians, we literally get the opportunity to take our requests straight to the God of the universe. The God who created an entire world in a breath, who knit together billions upon billions of people in the womb, the God who sees every tear ever cried, who knows all the hairs on our heads, who holds every second of time listens when we pray. Prayer is the most powerful action we can take, so it is more than ‘just enough’, it is advocacy at its most basic form.
I was once again convicted later in the week when I was reading Romans 12. Verse 2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Letting God transform us doesn’t just change the way we act; it changes the way we think. Instead of looking for man-made solutions to man-made problems, we can think beyond into the most radical and unheard-of answers. Instead of allowing our human brains to be limited by the options of this world and think in binaries and customs, we can allow God to transform our minds to think towards eternity. Verses 9-12 say; “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.” I have failed at loving certain people with genuine affection as of late. As verse 16 says, “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
Unity does not mean we are all the same. Unity allows space for love in our diversity. Unity asks for our differences but reminds us of our similarities. As Christians, we must think outside the world that asks for division and instead show unity. We must not think we know it all—I have too easily done this.
This is not a piece telling you how to vote or telling you not to vote. Please vote. God has given us the avenue of politics for a reason. But this is a reminder that being in the political sphere does not mean we are called to political ideology. This is a reminder that no matter how this week may end, our hope does not rest in a political candidate. This is a reminder to me that prayer is our first defense and our ultimate advocacy. This is a reminder that we are to love genuinely—even those we disagree with. This is a reminder that we do not know it all and that we are also not to conform to the world around us. This is a reminder that we have eternity to look forward to and prepare for—this election, this season, this moment is a minuscule fraction of that time. There are so many emotions this week, there are so many feelings. Allow yourself to feel them; but remember 1 Corinthians 13:13;
“three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”