Who Will you trust in This Election Richard Parrish Reflections Sep 2016
A Reflection for September 2016 by Richard Parrish

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“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation”  (Ps. 146:3).[1]

 

“The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes a world safe for your children.
- Proverbs 14:26 (The Message) [2]

 

REFLECT


Have you ever paid good dollars for concert tickets? When you arrive at the performance, you expect to hear some familiar music, and some new tunes, from the singer or band.  That’s why you go.

 

Recently, I’ve noticed that many well-known artists have jumped on the political bandwagon and are using the stage as a platform to express their personal political views.

 

In principle, I’m not opposed to people advocating for causes they believe in, or making their cases for candidates of their choosing. There is certainly a time and place to express these views.

 

However, perhaps it’s just my own personal bias, but when I pay for a concert, I expect to hear music – not a political diatribe!  I end up feeling cheated or betrayed. To use performance time to express a personal political opinion is at the least deceptive, if not a complete breach of trust. Andtrust is something we all desperately need.

 

At the risk of having you think that I am turning my own communicative platform into a political rant, let me be clear:

 

The candidate you will trust this election is for you to decide, not me.

 

The question: Whom will we trust? isn’t new. Throughout history we observe how – and where – people direct their faith. Some believe that wealth, success, or acclaim will offer confidence. Others want to believe that government will have the answers. Still others are banking their hopes on the “right candidate,” thinking that he or she will solve our country’s problems.

 

However, speak to the person who has lost her wealth, or whose success and acclaim have vanished. Although America’s government has weathered numerous storms in our nation’s history, it, too, is vulnerable. And, honestly – as well meaning and sincere as people are – who is there that is sufficiently reliable not to disappoint us?

 

We want to believe in something – or someone! The reason we desire faith is because we need confidence. Not one of us is free of having had an experience where our trust was betrayed or violated. It’s disappointing and painful.

 

The Psalmist, living in his own turbulent times, recognizes that prideful people are not capable of providing confidence. The wisdom of the Proverb reminds us: “The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes the world safe for [our] children.”

 

We want to trust. We need to trust!  We long for a future that is hopeful for our children and grandchildren. However, the place where we put our hope for our own, and future generations is essential!

 

Unfortunately, it is increasingly unpopular and “politically incorrect” to speak of God – (unless, of course, it serves a political objective). We’re prone to see one’s faith as an individual matter, and somehow disconnect God’s involvement in our nation’s affairs.

 

The Psalmist recognizes the foolishness of placing our hope in anything – or any person – other than the LORD:

 

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes” (Ps 118:19).[3]

 

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation”  (Ps. 146:3).[4]

 

Despite the honorable intentions of any candidate, if our reliance is solely on her or his ability to lead and protect us, our hope is misplaced!

 

When I served as a pastor, it was common for political leaders of all parties (Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents) to approach me. They desired an opportunity to have just two-minutes to speak to my parish, or to have a table in the narthex for their literature.

 

I always sought to explain politely the reason for my refusal. I didn’t want to turn our worship service into a political platform. Some graciously understood, while others’ rancor was visible. As a consequence, I’ve been called unfair, uncooperative, and anti-American, all because I refused to violate the trust of my congregations.

 

The extent of my political engagement – then and now – is to encourage each of us to pray, vote, and appropriately place our trust in God. That’s not a cop-out. It is a firm belief that God remains actively involved in the affairs of this nation!

 

Many express their disappointment with the choices available in this election. Others seem hopeful that a particular candidate is the right person to solve our country’s problems.  However, neither view should cloud what’s most important.

 

Despite your political persuasion or in whom you are placing your trust to lead our nation: my confidence and vote remain with God!


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 146:3.
[2] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Pr 14:26.
[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 118:9.
[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 146:3.

 

RESPOND


●     Am I convinced that God is actively concerned with the affairs of our nation? If not, why?

●     How might I communicate my confidence in God to others?

●     When and where is it appropriate for me to state my political views?

●     How will I do so in a loving and respectful way?

●     How will I pray for our political leaders, our candidates, and for our nation?