• Richard Parrish

October Reflection By Richard Parrish Who Will You Trust in This Election?



Despite the uncertainty of our upcoming elections, there’s one thing we will all need and a dependable assurance we have.


READ


“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” ⁠[1]

“The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes a world safe for your children.” ⁠[2]

REFLECT


Have you ever paid good dollars for concert tickets?


When you arrive at the performance, you expect to hear some familiar music (and some new tunes) from the singer or band. That’s why you go.


Several well-known artists have jumped on the political bandwagon and are using the stage as a platform to express their personal political views. I’m not opposed to people advocating for causes they believe in, or making their case for a candidate of their choosing. There is undoubtedly a time and place to express our views.


Perhaps it’s just me.


When I pay for a concert, I expect to hear music – not a political rant. For me, to use performance time to express a personal political opinion is at the least deceptive, if not a breach of trust.


And trust is something we need.


At the risk of having you think that I am turning my communicative platform into a political tirade, let me be clear:


The candidate you choose this election is for you to decide, not me.


The question: “Whom will we trust,” isn’t new. Throughout history, we observe how – and where – people direct their faith. Some believe that wealth, success, or acclaim will offer confidence. Others want to think that the government will have the answers. Still, others are banking their hope on the “right candidate,” thinking that he or she will solve our problems.


But please speak to the person who has lost her wealth, or whose success and acclaim have vanished.


Although America’s government has weathered numerous storms in our nation’s history, our country is also vulnerable. As well-intentioned and sincere as people are – who is sufficiently reliable not to disappoint us?


We want to believe in something – or someone!


The reason we desire faith is because we need confidence. Not one of us is free of an experience where our trust was not violated. It’s disappointing and painful.


The Psalmist (who lived in turbulent times) recognizes that prideful people do not have the capability of providing confidence. The wisdom of the Proverb reminds us:

“The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes the world safe for [our] children.”

We want to trust. We need to trust! We long for a future that is hopeful for our children and grandchildren. However, where we place our hope for our – and future – generations is essential!


It is increasingly unpopular and “politically incorrect” to speak of God (unless it serves a political objective). We’re prone to see one’s faith as an individual matter, and somehow disconnect God’s involvement in our nation’s affairs.


The Psalmist recognizes the foolishness of placing our hope in anything – or any person – other than the LORD:

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” [3]⁠

Despite the honorable intentions of any candidate, if our reliance is solely on her or his ability to lead and protect us, our hope is misplaced!


When I served as a pastor, it was typical for political representatives from all parties (Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents) to approach me. They desired an opportunity to have just two minutes to speak to my parish or have a table in the narthex for their literature.


Politely, I would explain my refusal to turn our worship service into a political platform. Some graciously understood while other’s rancor was visible. I’ve been called unfair, uncooperative, and anti-American because I refused to violate the trust of my congregations.


The extent of my political engagement – then and now – is to encourage each of us to pray, vote, and appropriately place our trust in God. That’s not a cop-out. It is a firm belief that God remains actively involved in the affairs of this nation!


Many express their disappointment with the choices available in this election. Others seem hopeful that the candidate of their choice is the right person to solve our problems. Despite your political persuasion: May we place our confidence in God!


RESPOND

  • Am I convinced that God is actively concerned with the affairs of our nation? If not, why?

  • How might I communicate my confidence in God to others?

  • When and where is it appropriate for me to state my political views?

  • How will I do so lovingly and respectfully?

  • How will I pray for our political leaders, our candidates, and our nation?

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 146:3.

[2] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Pr 14:26.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 118:9.