Rev. Brian Nolder
Christ the Redeemer Church
I admit it: I’m a Facebooker. I check Facebook almost every day. I frequently share articles that pique my interest, hoping that they will be useful to others. I often post Bible verses that encourage me.
Most of my posts pass by without much comment, probably seen by few of my hundreds of “friends.” But I posted something earlier this month that seemed to resonate with people, getting more “likes” than maybe all of my previous posts this year combined. Here is what I wrote:
“Attention, all sides: if the President is re-elected, the world will not end; if Gov. Romney is elected, the world will also not end. Whoever is elected, Jesus will still be on the throne, exercising his kingship.”
I still think this is true, which is why I wanted to share it with you today. There is a lot of “doomsday” talk in this election. “If candidate X is elected, this awful thing will happen.” “If candidate Y is elected, America will not survive.” And we frequently hear what we seem to hear every four years: “This election is the most important election of (my/our/your) lifetime!”
Now, I am not saying that the upcoming election is unimportant, insignificant, or inconsequential. I’m not saying that Christians should retreat from politics or the public square. Indeed, I think we should be far more active than we have been.
But for now, let us engage in a little thought experiment: what if all the doomsday predictions come true? What if candidate X is elected (insert the name of your choice), and “America as we know it” ends?
Christian, remember that Jesus made a promise: “on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Mt. 16:18) Read it again: “I will build my Church.” Jesus was keeping that promise long before July 4th, 1776. He is still keeping that promise today. He will still be keeping that promise, even if there is no longer a spot on the map that says, “the United States of America.”
Will I be “happy” if America does not survive? Not necessarily. I consider myself patriotic; I count myself very blessed to have been born and raised in this country. But I must always remember, as a Christian, that the kingdom of God is much bigger than America–indeed, that most Christians in the world today have dark skin, not light; most do not necessarily speak English–and that the kingdom of God does not, in the final analysis, depend on America.
If we take a long range perspective, we realize that nations come and go–as do kingdoms and empires. But while kingdoms come and go, and so do their kings, Jesus will still be building his Church.
Another reality check: go to persecution.com sometime and read about what Christian believers face in places like Saudi Arabia (a so-called “ally” of the US), North Korea, China, and even a seemingly “friendly” nation like India. Do we think that these Christians, who are suffering, in prison, and even dying for the name of Christ, really care who will be the occupant in the White House next January? What matters to them is that Jesus occupies the throne of heaven at God’s right hand.
I close with a portion of Psalm 146, 3000 year old words that remind us where our ultimate trust and confidence always needs to be:
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The Rev. Brian Nolder is pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church, which meets Sundays, 9:30 AM, at 1203 Peace St. www.redeemerpella.org.