The election is over, and I sense there's something of a gloomy spirit in many conservative corners of the country this morning.
Analysts and pundits, and even the candidates themselves, billed this year's contest as a crossroads of great consequence.
They were right.
As many Christians who see the confluence of our faith and the many issues of culture, we poured our hearts and souls into this year's election. We donated our time and gave of our treasure. We made phone calls. We helped to register and educate new voters. We prayed.
And how could we not?
The stakes were sky high.
In casting a vote for President Obama or his challenger, Governor Mitt Romney, Americans were either affirming or rejecting a very specific governing philosophy. Of equal importance, we were also passing judgment on the respective candidate's ideology concerning some of the critical issues of our day.
So now the electorate has spoken.
President Obama has won the Electoral College with a comfortable margin, but only by a slim margin in the popular vote. The long campaign is finally over.
But here is a fact, the most important calling of my life - and yours - continues.
It may feel like everything has changed and that the way forward has been dashed. But the reality is quite the opposite.
That's because the greatest challenges facing the family still rage red hot. Our hands and our hearts are needed more than ever before in our nation's history.
Awhile back I asked former President George W. Bush to identify the most significant threat to the United States of America. I thought he would say it was terrorism. He answered immediately and without equivocation.
The deterioration of the family.
He's absolutely correct and this is where our work needs to focus now:
Helping marriages, parents and introducing people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And so while elections have major consequences, one thing remains crystal clear to me as the sun rises on a new day.
It's time to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the moment: to rebuild the American family and renew our hope in the God in whose hands we rest, "safe and secure from all alarm."
It's time to continue our effort to make sure that every person, however small, is protected under law. It's time to again remind those who support abortion that life is the better choice! It's time to recommit ourselves to championing adoption and reforming a broken foster care system. It's time to be bold and stand stiffly into the wind of popular culture and point to the extraordinary benefits of children being raised in homes with one mom and one dad.
Simply put, it's time to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
No vote, however contentious or disappointing, can weaken the foundation of my Christian faith as I strive to serve families.
The Lord told his followers, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Yes, every election is the equivalent of a fork in the road, a time of choosing when the country's citizens express their voice in the form of a vote. That President Obama has won re-election comes as a source of great disappointment to many because of his campaign to support abortion and same sex marriage. These are policies which many know are contrary to scripture and weaken the family.
A fair-minded person will also acknowledge and admit that any time their candidate loses the news can come as a blow. But there is also divine opportunity seeded in the reality of setback.
I believe the coming days, weeks and months could very well be one of the modern-day Church's finest hours. This is no time to name call; there is no place for pettiness as we begin to count the consequences of the 2012 campaign.
Instead, this is a time to rise and reprioritize. It is time to reach out to every person in every corner of this country and in doing so, strive to reflect Christ's heart to a very hurting world by our words and actions.
The Apostle Paul's words lift me up in these days. His wisdom is instructive and so beautifully exemplifies the humility with which Christians are called to engage the culture:
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly (1 Cor 4: 9-12).
Those are heavy words, but Paul also brought a message of ultimate hope and perspective:
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
Are we ready to live our faith?
Are we prepared to look foolish for Christ's sake - even at our own comfort and expense?
To the degree we can embrace this humble perspective of Paul, we can endure the slings and arrows of earthly political campaigns. And if we truly do so, we will surely be able to say, as the prophet Isaiah once wrote, "...all will be well for those who are godly" (Isaiah 3:10).
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