I find a touch of irony—or is it Providence?—in this month’s long-determined theme on the blog: stability.
Nearly from the moment I set foot on American soil a few months ago, stability seemed a country mile from what any American Christians—and watching Christians from other countries—sensed. In fact, at my writer’s conference this weekend, a Ugandan pastor’s prayer request was for America. It’s such a center of missions, he reasoned. If America crumbles, what will happen then?
I’ve spoken with so many concerned Christians worldwide about the U.S.’ confusing political situation—and I’m one of them. I’ve taken in all the jokes about which of my friends are moving to Canada if so-and-so gets elected, and much more fretful questions. Oddly, it seems we American believers are shifting to a similarity with Uganda, where I live: They no longer find stability in government or country.
What felt like bedrock to the American church…now feels more like sand.
Now, I have no desire to contribute to a “sky is falling”, alarmist mentality. (I don’t know that particular fire needs my fuel!) Nor do I feel we should remove ourselves, surrendering to that fear stalking our peace of mind: Jeremiah reminds us, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Our fear must be pressed into the sieve of prayer, pleading with God for our country out of invested concern, just like Abraham did for Lot’s.
In Daniel 2, Daniel—a man who withstood four of history’s most powerful political regimes—asserts, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings.
This shift in season doesn’t have God tailing behind the reckless actions of humanity, wringing His hands and stepping in. He determines these times, these seasons.
So I’ve sought to remember how God has “packed our lunch” over and over—daily provided for Christians throughout time, my own ancestors included; my own parents included. I’ve mulled over historical precedence; how God aided His people in the past, covering them there with His hand. I remember an Asian missionary’s words regarding the Chinese church’s fear when Communism descended. Would the church survive? Yet the Church, then 4 million, is now “on track to be the world’s most Christian nation” in the next 15 years.
I think of the remnant of God’s people in the Old Testament, during horrific, godless kings like Manasseh and Ahab. Perhaps we feel a fraction of their alarm as we marvel at the velocity of cultural decline in a handful of years; as we sputter amidst the sudden riptide overturning how our culture responds to Christians.
Stability isn’t a given when it comes to the government of humans.
During the summer before my senior year of high school, I recall vividly entering the side of a mountain, a small cleft wedged within the Swiss Alps. The angular, jutting walls were slick with the spray of an internal waterfall—but aside from the slipping of my sandals, the stone walls themselves were positively immovable. After ducking in a few feet, I was surrounded all sides by a mountain that stood quietly when my father’s grandfather still lived in Switzerland, and his grandfather before him. Remember this, my companion said, when you remember that we hide in the Rock.
And He is the Rock where I must diligently choose rest. I must refuse to stake my stability and security in a political candidate, in a safe place for my belief and my children’s future, in a constitution composed by men. Though I remain proud to be the American God made me, my identity remains first and foremost cemented in the Rock that is Higher than I—and someday, the government will be on His shoulders.
This week, as headlines, debates, and cultural climates tempt us to fear, may God grant you a spirit of power, love, and self-control. May you be covered there with His hand, hidden in His unrelenting love.
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