I almost never get political. Even just anticipating the potential of an argument gives me hives. I dread confrontation like most people dread the stomach flu. And since opening up to political conversation likely introduces one, if not both, of those things I typically avoid it as much as possible.
I also subscribe to the philosophy, “Don’t show your ignorance.” I feel very strongly about not opening my mouth to argue for or against something that I am not 100% certain about. I prefer to quietly collect data from trusted sources and opinions from those I respect and then ponder what is the best choice for me and don’t really talk about it after that. I know it might not be the way you handle subjects like politics, but I trust that you can at least respect that it is my way.
But I don’t want to be absolutely silent about the political climate out there and the upcoming presidential election. But I do want to speak from a place that I know and wrestle with on a day to day basis.
I’m talking about the effects of this election on the future of my children.
Just like many of you, I’m sure, I have thoughts and worries about the America my kids will grow up in. I wonder what it will mean for them to be a Christian in a society that no longer places value on the things we will raise them to value. I wonder what will happen under leaders who, at the very least, model poor character choices themselves. I worry about the stability of the country and the toxic environment in which my kids will have to grow up. The impending election just casts a giant spotlight directly onto these concerns.
But when I get really overwhelmed by my anxious thoughts I stop and think, Surely I’m not the first Christian mother in the history of the world to have ever had these thoughts? I think about how absolutely anxiety-ridden a mother’s thoughts might have been during the Cold War as she wrestled with the real possibility of a nuclear attack on her young family. I think about what it was like for enslaved mothers whose reality was a hostile, abusive, and oppressive environment for herself and her sweet babies and she had to continue to trust the Lord through it all. And I think about the mamas of the early church age whose political leaders would actually search these women out and drag them and their families to the coliseums where they would be torn apart by lions and other ferocious beasts just for sport and simply because they claimed Christ. I don’t think I am alone in these thoughts. I certainly come from a long line of devoted Christian women who couldn’t help but think, God, what are you doing here and how will my precious children be affected?
There was another population of mothers, this time in the Old Testament, who surely felt this heaviness as well. The Israelite mothers in Jeremiah’s day, the ones who were told that they would experience seventy years of captivity in the land of Babylon. And let’s suffice it to say that Ancient Babylon was about as pagan, as heathen, and as far from pleasing in the Lord’s eyes as a nation could possibly get. There were certainly a great many fears an Israelite mother had to wrestle with and things they had to protect their children from on a daily basis.
But do you know what the Lord told His people in the midst of this captivity? What He expected them to do as they lived among a cruel people whom they likely feared on a great many levels?
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
The Lord commanded His people to not only live, but thrive and build lives there in the land of their captivity. Did He know how uncomfortable and hard it would be for them to live among a people whose lives were in such vast opposition to what the Holy God of Israel expected from His people? Of course He did. But that didn’t change what He wanted them to do while they were there.
Build houses, build lives, pray for the peace of the city … and a few verses down, the part we likely all know very well:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I don’t know what the future holds for our country. But I do know that we are not the first generation to ever feel confused about the leadership the Lord allowed to be placed in authority. And I know what the Father’s expectations are for His children even when we feel confused and outnumbered and attacked on all sides.
So no matter what the outcome of this election or the dozen more I will see after that in my lifetime, I will do what I can. I will do what I can to raise my children to be kind, compassionate, and dedicated to the Christian way. I will raise them to love good and hate evil and always reach out to those in need. I will raise them to look out for each other and show them how families stick together. I will try my best to grow them in an environment that would be pleasing to the Lord, no matter what it might look like outside our front door. And I will trust that this is God’s plan – His good plan – for us, for our country, and for the world.