Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have exploded with the opinions of millions on the recent events in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter have been supported, debated, argued, attacked. Our society is confused, hurt and panicking.
In the midst of this, our country is torn between two presidential candidates who have seemingly created more controversy than support. Hilary Clinton is clearly an intelligent woman. However, the FBI’s recent investigation of her emails during her time as secretary of state found her “extremely careless.” Though the director of the FBI did not recommend charges, the damage to her reputation has caused 67 percent of voters to find her untrustworthy, according to the New York Times. As for Donald Trump, no one can deny he’s a successful businessman. Yet, his childish behavior during interviews and debates, as well as his openly racist and sexist comments, have not created a favorable image. As a result, he’s not far behind Hilary in the public’s distrust, with 62 percent finding him untrustworthy, according to the same New York Times article.
So, here we are, America. We’re sitting in a big pot of turmoil and unrest, with a wonderful side of division. And a dash of hatred, just for taste.
Yet, all of this brokenness in our political and social world is not surprising; it’s expected. For some, I’m sure it’s terrifying. It might feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s not. Yes, I am saddened by the state our country is in. The amount of corruption and violence and hatred is horrifying. This is the kind of thing you read about in history books and think, Goodness, I’m glad I didn’t have to live through that. Over the past few weeks, the brokenness of our world has become a constant fixture in the news. But it’s not surprising or unexpected or the end of the world. It’s simply the evidence of an age-old fact: People need hope in something greater than this world.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
My war is not with the people around me. It’s not with the people who have different opinions than me. It’s not with the people who post those violently worded opinions on social media. It’s not with the people who have caused so much pain by acting out on their hatred. It’s not with corrupt and untrustworthy politicians. No, my war is not with them.
My war is with the spiritual forces of evil. My war is with sin. My war is with the very real demons who have turned the hearts of this nation, a nation once dedicated to God. But really, it isn’t a war. The war was won two thousand years ago when a man, who was also fully God, perfect and blameless, died on a Roman cross. He was crucified by his own design. He died of his own free will, as the ultimate sacrifice for his creation’s sin. Three days later, when he rose again, the war was won. The death of sin had been conquered, for all who would accept the salvation he offered. So the war is over. But the battle still rages. We’re still fighting.
Those forces of evil would have us believe that we’re fighting each other, that another person or organization or movement or government is our ultimate enemy. Don’t listen. We are not each other’s enemies.
My hope is not in the world or the people in it. My hope is in the one who created the world. My hope is not in any governmental system or politician. My hope is in the one who created governments and the countries they rule and the very land on which they stand.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
That is my hope. That is my assurance. I have faith in the God who created this nation, this government and every person around me. Some might ask, If you believe in God, where is he in all of this? Oh, trust me, he’s here. He’s working. He hasn’t turned his back on us. He’s certainly not turned his back on me. Our God controls all things, but he is not a controlling God. He lets people make their own decisions, and he lets them face the consequences of those decisions. Our country has decided to turn its back on God and now we’re facing the consequences. This, my friends, is what a country without faith looks like. This is what a country without hope looks like. So, yes, in this time of turmoil, I fear for our country’s fate. I do not fear for myself, for my hope is in something greater.