On Election Day 2018
This is a dangerous piece to write, yes. Perspectives, opinions, backgrounds of all kinds may read this, and honestly there is no telling the feedback one will receive writing on an election day. So, here goes nothing. This year, for the midterm elections, there has been more conversation around voter registration than I’ve encountered in my lifetime. Every social platform has placed an urgency before its users to get out and vote – regardless of political affiliation, the message has been simple, and I have agreed with it. We have been issued a freedom that should not be taken for granted. We have a responsibility as citizens of this country and of Heaven to steward our lives and influence well.
The talk of the nation as of late has been political. With the rise of social media we are buried with information, consumed with opinions, overcome with dissension, and truth is faded. We’re yelling on the internet. Clapping back at people that we do not know and, quite honestly, don’t care anything about. Singing the praises of only those who agree with us. The chatter has gotten so loud that we are missing everything. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t much different in Jesus’ day.
There was an enormous amount of chatter surrounding Jesus. Rightfully so, He said that He was the Son of God. I think that deserves some chatter among the people of the day. As you read through John’s writings you find this cycle of Jesus proclaiming who He is, the religious leaders trying to undermine who He is, and the disciples telling Jesus who they think He is. The goal of John’s gospel is to know Jesus; to find out who He says He is and how that relates to our story.
Scripture sets a pretty clear scene for us. Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life.” He asserts his deity by associating Himself with God as His Father and the sustainer of life. It was no surprise to Jesus when the religious leaders began grumbling about such a bold statement. In fact, they didn’t like it so much so that as the conversation went on Scripture tells us again that they “disputed among themselves.” (John 6:52)
I have to believe that for John to mention this twice in just a few sentences they were fuming in their discussion, and they probably were not quiet about it. If Twitter had been around, Lord help what would have been posted. What is interesting, however, is not that the Jewish leaders were grumbling – that is to be expected – but verses later John writes, “But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling…” (v. 61). The chatter from the Jewish leaders had made its way into the ears of some of Jesus’ disciples resulting in them walking away.
Later, we enter into another conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, where they go back and forth about how His word can be true. The Pharisees were deaf to what Jesus was saying, but they certainly were not mute.
There was noise everywhere.
Then one verse captures it– “As he was saying these things, many believed in him” (v. 30).
They were quiet.
It is easy to glance over these short sayings in Scripture, because we are primarily focused on the dialogue between the Jews and Jesus. We want to know how Jesus responded to those that testified against Him; how the Jews sought to find fault in Jesus. Yet, in spite of all the chatter and the noise, God cuts through it all to speak, to move, to work among people. You see, it was amidst what was loud that God moved in quiet. Hardly recognized.
Does this not resemble our world today? We have become so concerned with being the loudest ones in the room and winning people over to a particular ideology that we are missing God winning people over period. Our ears are bent toward CNN and Fox News, without fail their disgruntled-ness is becoming our disgruntled-ness.
We miss compassion.
We miss love.
We miss Truth.
We miss God.
Jesus watched those that had followed him turn their backs and walk away from Him because the world sounded better. I can only imagine what He felt. With, what I assume to be, a weighted heart He looked at the twelve and asked, “Do you want to go away as well?” (6:67), and with unwavering faith, Peter steps up, in full Peter fashion, and answers, “’Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God’” (v. 68-69).
Peter’s answer has marked me this past year. Really, in the last month. We have beaten on the door of Heaven, had to answer hard questions about what it is we are going to believe about Jesus, what He says, and the way He chooses to say it. There was no other option for Peter. Not one. He didn’t want to miss God to the noise. He wanted Jesus. I want Jesus.
Here me say –
Your voice matters.
Your vote matters.
I am fully convinced that God has given us the responsibility to fight for what He loves and who He loves, and sometimes that doesn’t fit in a two-party system. But please, I urge you, believer, do not miss God in the fight. Do not miss what He wants to do in our nation. Do not let the chatter in our ears and on our screens keep us from seeing what God is doing. Lower your voice enough to hear God speak over you, over your neighbor, and over our nation.