Today in the United States, we go to the polls to vote for our next president. We understand that voting to elect officials is a fairly new privilege and right for many of us and one still fought for by many others around the world. This year, perhaps for the first time, we’ve felt the full weight of our right. Perhaps you have voted or will vote today and perhaps you chose not to vote. This year, more than ever, we’re asking what our future holds. No matter who we voted for, or didn’t vote for, we’re asking, now what?
Pray for our leaders.
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
You probably expected this to be on the list, but I want to challenge you to actually do it. I don’t know a lot about politics, but if I’ve learned anything from TV, I’ve learned that political offices are fraught with difficult decisions. Every single day, our president and our government leaders are faced with no-win situations. Pray for their decision making. Pray for wisdom to know what is right and boldness to do it. Pray that they may not be swayed by the opinions of people.
Pray also for the hearts of our leaders. No matter who is president on January 20 and who is in the Senate and the House and the Court, we should pray for their salvation and sanctification. 2 Timothy 2 says that God wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. For those who are not yet believers, we should pray they come to know Christ in a personal way. For those who are already following Christ, we should pray they be more conformed to His likeness every day. We should pray that for our leaders, for our neighbors, and for ourselves.
Love your neighbor.
Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.
This election further divided our country. I’ve heard people say that each election feels like the worst in history. Perhaps that’s true, but we cannot deny that this election created new chasms in our society. We are divided when our name claims we’re united.
If I could assign some reading for us all today, it would be Romans 12. The beginning of Romans is all about faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Romans 12 is almost a “now what?” for how Christians should live with one another. How should we live as God’s children? Romans 12 says we should rejoice with those who rejoice, outdo one another in showing honor, pursue hospitality, be humble, and “if possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone” (v. 18).
This is our “now what” for how to live beside our friends, family members, and neighbors who voted for someone else. This is our “now what” for how to live beside those who voted for the same candidate.
In these days and weeks and months and years following today, let’s outdo one another in showing honor. Pray for those who voted for the other candidate—and not that they may see things your way. Get to know them, pray for their hopes, their needs, and their hurts. Show them family affection.
Use your voice.
Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.
Today may not end the way you would like. A candidate you did not vote for may become president, senator, or representative. You still have a voice. In the United States, we are able to voice our opinions and lead the charge for change. This is not the case in many countries. On the issues you care about, write your leaders. Campaign next time. Peacefully protest. Converse and have friendly debates with those who disagree. Learn the arguments of the other side. Seek godly counsel from Scripture. The Bible shows us how to respect our authorities while asking for change (look at the stories of Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, and Peter).
Take advantage of your rights as a citizen to enact change in your neighborhood and community. But always do so with humility and out of love.
Place your hope in Christ.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in nobles.
You will probably read this many times, but the truth is always worth repeating. No matter who is president, Jesus is on the throne. He is our hope, our salvation, and our light. No leader can ever be those things for us.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
A common theme for the world this year has been one of fear. We’re afraid of people, of nature, of opinions, of governments. The Bible tells us not to fear. But the Bible doesn’t end with a “don’t.” God’s Word tells us that He is our light, our stronghold, and our help. Because He is who He is, we don’t have to be afraid. We can place our hope and our identity in Him, the King of kings.
the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
the only One who has immortality,
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see Him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.
1 Timothy 6:15b-16
Elizabeth Hyndman is an editor and social media strategist for Lifeway Christian Resources. When she’s not inserting Oxford commas and answering questions about Bible studies, she likes to drink chai lattes, write, and explore her home city of Nashville, Tennessee. She blogs at edhyndman.com and tweets @edhyndman.