We hate being disappointed. It makes us feel angry, bitter, and fearful. Because met expectations give us a sense of security. We think that if we get what we want in life, it will some how protect us from bad things happening. But this is an illusion. Firstly because we are dealing with people. People are unpredictable. We may think we know what we are getting, but rarely is this the case. Because leaders are more than the sum of their campaign promises.
This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt was Common. (I’ll say right now that I’m already blowing the 5 minutes out of the water, but please bear with me anyway).
1 Corinthians 10:13 came to mind.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
(If you can find the time, I really recommend you read the whole chapter. There is much there that is encouraging in light of much that has gone on in the last week.)
No temptation will befall you except what is common to man. Meaning, what you are feeling is real, and painful but also common. It has happened before and will happen again. The temptation to despair is equally as damaging as the temptation to put our security in the wrong things. Leaders are just people. Flawed people, who will fail us. I don’t care how much you love or hate our current (or future) political leaders, they will at times disappoint and surprise you. The mistake is believing that getting what we want will make things OK. Because it won’t. There was only ever one Messiah, and his name is Jesus. But since then people of all political persuasions, especially in the United States, have made the mistake of putting our faith in systems of government.
I happen to think our system is a pretty good one, with many flaws for sure. I am grateful that I live in a nation where the transition of power can occur peacefully and safely. But the hidden danger is that I can begin to put my faith the governments process and procedures instead of God. At the same time, if my preferred political leaders don’t rise to power as I’d hoped, or do gain power and don’t do what they promised, it is easy to let my disappointment embitter me. Peace is replaced with indignation. Kindness with bitter entitlement. The reverse is also true, optimism can become arrogance, confidence turns to superiority.
I imagine that this problem is likely unique to those of us living under governments where we do have a say and influence. Those who have no security in their governments, do not put faith in a system that they have seen fail them time and time again. While I don’t desire to be in that situation, I desire their faith and perspective.
If I claim to be a person who puts my faith in God, I cannot put my hope in political machinations. I can be involved in the process, assess the choices and make the best one I can. As a citizen of the United States I am lucky enough to be allowed a say in this process. But to say that if I don’t get my way, all hope is lost, is to say that God’s love and power can be thwarted by the choices of flawed human beings. That is not faith.
If you are still grieving what you see as a defeat, I’m sorry. Not because I owe you an apology for disagreeing with you or because I agree with the words (or actions) you are using to express your grief. But because I know what you are feeling is common to man. I have felt it too at many times in my life.
If you feel positive and optimistic, I encourage you, in the same way, to make sure you don’t put your faith in the wrong thing. We elected a president, not a king. Extend grace to the people who disagree with you. (Whether you have received the same grace in the past or not).
Because kindness, grace and love will win the day, only if we extend them to all, regardless if we agree. It is our way of escape, because God is faithful.