On Tuesday, November 6th, the voters of the United States re-elected President Barack Obama to a second term. Was the vote close? Yes – very. But in the end the closeness of the election matters not. Yesterday our vocation as citizen demanded that we go to the polls and vote. Today, once again, our vocation demands that we give honor to those whom God has placed in authority over us, pray for them, etc. (Romans 13:1, 5-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13-14). You may disagree with his economic plan, his stance on immigration, his big-government approach versus a more conservative, limited one, but a fair discussion can be had over those matters, and in the meantime you pray. I certainly plan to do this.
Yet today, on November 7th, we in our vocation as Christians also now are faced with a President who – through his own words and his administration’s actions – has shown great hostility to the living out of our Christian faith in the world. It’s easy to conceive of a threat to the freedom of religion in this country as coming from this or that law passed by Congress. It’s entirely another to have that threat come via executive orders, executive branch mandates, and legal argumentation by the executive branch within the courts. Yet that is exactly what President Obama’s administration has consistently done.
Not only that, but the Democratic Platform this year stridently attempts to frame the argumentation against abortion, same-sex marriage, and other movements of societal upheaval – from either a religious or natural law perspective – as extremist, prejudicial, and based in hate. The end goal is to completely rewrite the moral framework of society – a post-modern endeavor to be sure. In my opinion, this push will prove unstoppable. However, the more alarming aspect of it is that it seems those who hold to a traditional view of these things – or in the case of abortion, the inarguable moral stance – will be persecuted more and more.
This is enough to terrify, to depress, perhaps even to mortify. But the tremendous comfort in all this is that our Lord is aware of it, in fact has testified of this reality to us in His Word. Not to frighten us, but instead to reassure us that even in the midst of this morass He is still present and caring for us, pouring out His mercy upon us and setting us here as a light in the world.
Just this past Sunday, in fact, we heard from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. His words ring true, and provide priceless comfort. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
What is it to be blessed? As Paul writes in Romans 5, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Let us hold fast to our hope – that hope which clings to Christ and His cross, and the forgiveness and peace with God which He won for us there – even if it means that all else must be counted as loss for us. “Take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone, the victory has been won, the Kingdom ours remaineth.”
Or as our Lord Jesus puts it, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
For more: Free to be Faithful