First, I have to give credit for the title: it was a statement made in today’s service by Pastor Jamie Powell of First Baptist Church of Perry. This is the new church home that God directed me to. I have only attended twice in person, but I faithfully watch the sermons online each week and fully intend to seek membership when God tells me the time is right. The sermon this week centered around 1 Timothy 2: 1-8, Paul’s instructions for worship in the church.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. 8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
The sermon focused on prayer itself as it was explained in verses 1-2: we are to pray for others, those in authority included. Pastor Jamie also discussed many of the differing opinions in the church community lately, particularly those about politics and Covid. But, when he said “Hope for America is NOT in Donald Trump or Joe Biden” it just immediately reached out and took hold of me because I realized I had been doing just exactly that: placing my hope in the wrong place. I had made a FaceBook post on inauguration day which said “Today, I call on all my fellow Trump supporters to not be like THEM. Don’t cry, trash Biden publicly, and act like they did for the last four years. BE BETTER. When they go low, we smile and wave and give a thumbs up because we know what really happened, and know what is still coming. So, Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. I can’t stand them, but I, unlike Trump haters, choose to at least TRY to rise above and be kind. And yes, I will still say I told you so when the time comes.” Yes, it was disguised as a nice post but it really wasn’t. It was a back-handed one. I was still angry that Trump left the White House to a bumbling buffoon who cheated (yes, I still believe he cheated and nobody will ever convince me otherwise! Alas, keep reading). Then last night, I found myself looking up things on the newly established Patriot Party. I had hopes this was true and wondered how to declare myself as one of the original founding members! Historical, right? Sure…but also…self-gratifying. 🙄
Then, Sunday sermon spoke directly to me. I both love AND hate when that happens. I hate it because it means that God caught me red-handed, doing something I shouldn’t be doing, and called me out on it. I love it for exactly the same reason: it shows God is thinking of ME personally, loving me, disciplining me…and we know He disciplines the ones He loves. Ipso facto, God loves me (and you!). So, what did I do to deserve His discipline this time? I put my faith and hope in someone other than Jesus. I put my faith and hope in Donald Trump, to somehow miraculously save out country from falling into the wickedness of socialism, corruption, perversion, and idolatry that we are currently barreling towards at warp speed. It is not wicked to have good hopes for someone, but it IS wicked to place them in someone besides Jesus. God showed me I was very guilty of this, and immediately I felt the ultimate shame and remorse. I could almost see Jesus reaching out to me from the cross, mourning because I had deified someone else who certainly wouldn’t die for me. Yes, I am ashamed today, for my actions/feelings/thoughts and generally everything else I’ve said or done over the last 4 years with regard to politics. I’m not ashamed to be a Trump supporter or to stand up for what I believe in, don’t get me wrong. What I am ashamed of is the fact that I let myself get so wrapped up in it that I forgot Christ was already everything I need or want.
Christ IS my hope. Christ IS my strength. Christ IS my rest. Christ IS my purpose. Christ IS my faith. Christ IS my purpose. Christ IS my love. Christ IS my nutrition. Christ IS my peace. Christ IS perfection. Christ IS the plan. Christ IS MY LIFE. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING.
Donald Trump is but a man. Joe Biden is but a man. If, like me, you placed your hope/faith/trust in one of them, it is no wonder we’re both going to be disappointed. Maybe not now for the Biden sect, but rest assured, you will be. Why? Because no man on this earth can EVER be everything we need and want. Only CHRIST can be that.
This week, my prayer focus is going to be on the removal of barriers and distractions, that God will take them away and allow me to be more focused on Him. Over these last few weeks, Satan has put a LOT of these in my way. Neopaganism, hanging onto the word of a human, neglecting my personal responsibilities…..it’s all been a thorn in my side. But I also see that no matter what I have done, there is always a roadblock to stop me and bring me back on track. JESUS IS MY ROADBLOCK!
It really reminds me of the story of Balaam and the donkey in Numbers 22. Balaam was a “diviner,” called on by King Balak of Moab, to curse the Israelites. The Israelites were nearing the end of their journey to the promised land, and were taking over and destroying the cities in their way. The Moabites were afraid because they’d heard of what the Israelites had done, so Balak hired Balaam to curse them. God came to Balaam to intervene and advised him to only speak the words God gave him. Balaam set out to Moab but the Angel of the Lord appeared in his way three times, blocking his path. Balaam did not see Him, but his donkey did, and each time the donkey resisted going in that direction. Balaam beat the donkey for her resistance, but the Lord caused the donkey to physically speak to Balaam….she asked him what she did to deserve being beaten. She then said she had been faithful to him as long as he had her, and asked him if she’d ever behaved in that way before, resisting him. Of course he said no. Then, God opened his eyes so he could see the Angel standing in his way. He realized the donkey had been protecting him all along, and the Angel said so as well. “The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.” Numbers 22:33
Perhaps politics has been my donkey (hahaha insert mean jokes here), leading me and letting me “ride,” taking me wherever I needed to go. But, the Angel of the Lord has intervened on my behalf (and yours) by stopping the “donkey” in its path. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps we can’t see it now, but maybe God will open our eyes later. We know God has a plan for everything. Perhaps this is just another plot twist in His storyline for our country. We don’t know for sure and we may never know. In the meantime, we should stick to God’s will for us: salvation by grace through faith in JESUS.
Not Donald Trump or Joe Biden.