Transitioning With Dignity
I had a handful of excellent teachers in ...
It was entitled, “5 Ways to Pray for Government Leaders You Don’t Agree With.” The writer began with these words. “The substantial majority of readers of this site do not care for Barack Obama’s presidency.” He was right. His readers were a part of the vast sea of white evangelicals who saw Obama’s presidency as an assault on Christian values.
But his article reminded his readers that Christians are not given the option of letting their disagreements with political leaders – no matter how strong – prevent them from praying for them.
I loved it! I loved the article because I love Obama. I love his courage. I love his character. I love his color. I love his cool. I love him because he loves Motown. I love him because he loves the Chicago Bulls. And most of all, I love him because he loves his family.
But now the script has flipped. The tables have turned. The shoe is on the other foot. My guy is gone and with him, much of my optimism for the political future. The rumor of a post-racial society has been dashed. A clown car of political pundits and radio hosts has made a polarized climate even worse. And to top it all, in this time of crisis, a majority of the Christian church in America has proclaimed the president a hero who is making America “great” again. Their response to practically any criticism of Trump is to deny, deflect or defend. Even when the indefensible words have come from the mouth of Trump himself.
Donald Trump is a walking, talking, breathing representation of practically everything I dislike and distrust in a leader. Which leads me to three reasons that I should be praying for Donald Trump:
Now, those are the reasons that I should be praying for Donald Trump. At some point I’ll get there, but for now, these are 3 valid reasons that I do pray for Donald Trump.
I pray for Trump because I love my family.
Paul counseled Timothy to pray for leaders and those in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceable life. (I Tim. 2:1-3). I get my greatest motivation to pray for Trump from my wife, children, grandchildren and family. I don’t want them to be subjected to the trauma that comes from living in a country that is under siege politically, socially, or economically. I lived through the 60’s with its terrible riots, horrible assassinations and social upheaval. And that was mild compared to the harrowing stories I heard from my elders who witnessed and suffered much worse. I don’t want that for my family.
And incidentally, God says pray even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s important to identify the emperor Paul instructed the people of God to pray for. It was Nero. Under Nero, Christians were viciously persecuted. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Nero murdered his mother and both wives. Donald Trump is a saint compared to him, but God says to pray for him. Pray for him because when you are praying for him, you are literally praying for your own family.
I pray for Trump because I love my country.
Donald Trump has inadvertently elevated Jeremiah Wright from pariah to prophet. It was Wright who warned that America’s dark past is not in the past. Just below the surface of many of our polite conversations is a bigotry that we refuse to face. And you can’t fix a problem that you don’t face. American history is a crazy quilt of pride and prejudice, love and hate.
But America holds a special place in prophetic history (Rev. 13), and in my heart. Anyone who has had the opportunity to travel as I have, can’t help but see the blessing of living in America with all of its challenges. I’m not a fan of the neo-conservative distortion of American exceptionalism, but I do see America as a unique place with unique opportunities.
The Jewish exiles that lived in Babylon were instructed to pray for the peace of the city. (Jer. 29:7) That was strange counsel for a captive people. But again, to pray for the city was actually to pray for themselves. Peace is fragile. Our country has not experienced the horror of war in some time and we are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past.
I remember the stories my elders told of World War 2 and the Korean War. I can almost feel the Vietnam War. I sat in front of my television as a boy and saw the names of the soldiers killed in action scroll across the screen every night. Every night, a new list of casualties. Our sons and daughters. Our mothers and Fathers. We have painfully short memories. Our prayers should be for the president to steer this country toward peace.
I pray for Trump because God is in control.
Proverbs 21:1 says that the king’s heart is like a stream of water in the Lord’s hands. God steers the stream. Psalm 2:2-4 says that God sits in heaven and laughs at kings and rulers who think that they are in control. God not only has the last laugh, he has the last word.
I believe in the sovereignty of God. God is in control. This fight is fixed, and we win. It might be a hard fight, but it’s a fixed fight. It might be a long fight, but it’s a fixed fight. So as difficult as it is for me right now to accept the leadership of a thin-skinned president, I have accepted the Lordship of an awesome God.
Trump was elected for a term. God is on the throne for eternity.
He said pray…. I’ll pray.
What are your thoughts?