We are perched again at the beginning of a new year. Many of us find ourselves at the beginning of a new year hoping for a lot of things – hoping that some things will be the same and hoping that some things will be different. I know that I hope 2017 will be better than 2016 for myself, for my loved ones, and for the church I serve. Yet I also know that each year seems to have both blessings and hardships – sometimes a lot more of one than the other, but this is to be expected.
2017 seems to have a lot more ‘unknowns’ for us due to the inauguration of a new president on January 20th. There have been a lot more ‘unknowns’ with the election of Donald Trump than around the election of mostly ‘career politicians’ to the office of the presidency over the past many years. For some people the unknowns bring a sense of excitement and for others these unknowns bring a sense of fear and even hysteria.
Followers of Jesus are called upon to be people of hope and faith, rather than people of fear and anxiety. When we grow in Christ we spend less energy running around as if our hair is on fire because we trust God’s providence in all situations. Of course we must take politics seriously since political realities are part of the human condition which impact human life – but we must not give politics too much importance in our lives since this is a sign that we are falling into a subtle form of idolatry.
Remember that God’s word calls us again and again to put our hope and faith in the Lord rather than in human institutions. I love this clear counsel given in Psalm 146:
2I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God.
As you read these verses from the Psalms it is clear that putting our trust, our hope, and our faith in the Lord is an essential part of living what is called a “blessed” life. When we put our trust in human institutions we will tend toward the twin core sins of anxiety and idolatry. As followers of Jesus we need to model to the world that the one who is sitting in the Oval Office does not have as big of an impact on our lives as the One who is on the throne in Heaven.
So let’s look toward 2017 with hope and faith instead of with fear. Let us pray for our nation and for a new president who surely needs our prayers (whether he knows it or not). And let us pray for one another as we serve Jesus together as the one who is (as we sing in the Easter hymn) the “Lamb upon His throne,” the “Potentate of Time” and the “matchless King through all eternity.” He is the One who is worthy of our hope and trust no matter what life brings our way.