I think the only true way to answer that question is with a firm, solid, and decisive answer: it depends. I know that’s a weasel answer, but it’s not really the incorrect one. Every four years (two if you’re a mid-term politics junkie), Believers should struggle with this question in a very significant way. And be clear, I am talking to Believers here, not the world. I am not asking if our “favorite” won or not. I am not asking if you even have a favorite or not. Generally speaking, we all have the person we would like to see as President. That’s why we vote in the first place. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t vote. It’s just that simple.
But that’s not what I am asking. I am asking you, as a Believer, to think about what it really means if your person won or not. In the long run, does it even matter? Again, there is not an overly simple answer to the question. But if I were to speak generally and only for myself, my conclusion is that the winner of a presidential election really doesn’t matter in the long run. What do I mean by that? I am so glad you asked.
First, please note that I am not saying that whoever gets elected doesn’t have a real, tangible impact on our lives in this country. There’s an old saying in politics: elections have consequences. One need only go back a few decades to see how the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans were changed almost immediately once Jimmy Carter was ousted and Ronald Reagan was elected and ushered in the amazing economic growth of the 80s.
Likewise, Bill Clinton’s eight years had a very decisive impact once he defeated the guy ushered in on Ronald Reagan’s third term (George H.W. Bush). Yes, presidents can enact policies and make decisions that will negatively or positively impact people’s lives in this country. That’s a no-brainer. But that’s not my question. My question for the Believer is (in case you forgot): does it matter who won the election? Existentially, of course, the answer is probably yes. But ultimately? No.
Why is that? Because, as Believers, we should never be existentially focused. Never. Existentially aware? Yes. Existentially mindful? Of course. Here is the pure, unadulterated truth on this subject, as it relates to Believers. This earth is not our home. Let me repeat for emphasis. This earth is NOT our home. We are not residents of this planet. And that is not a symbolic statement. It is what God’s Word tells us over and over again. There are verses upon verses that remind us that we are simply passing through this world and that our true Home will only be realized once we breathe our last breath on this planet. I know Believers say they believe this. But we have too many who act like they don’t.
Of all of the passages that relate this truth, the one that has had the biggest impact on me is 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (ESV). Please go back and read that again. Drink those words in. Devour them as you would food if you were on the edge of starvation. Now, I want you to think about the most pitiable person, group, or situation you have ever heard of or encountered. Maybe it’s the pity you felt for starving children around the world. Maybe it’s when your heart went out to a friend or family member who had to endure some terrible fate. Think about the time you felt the most pity for someone and what they were going through. Now, go back and read that passage again.
Look at the message. If we who are Believers have only this world to hope in… then we are the most pitiable people on the planet. Not the people I just had you remember. We are. Because if heaven doesn’t exist. If the resurrection of our bodies to perfection living an eternity with the God of the universe doesn’t exist. If all that we have is what is on this earth, then Christians are to be the most pitied people on the planet. That’s why elections don’t matter. At least, they don’t ultimately matter. Jesus was born under and lived under one of the most brutal dictatorships in the history of the world. And He never mentioned it. He never bemoaned it. He never said: we gotta get these Romans out of power. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross so we would have a great life on this planet. He died so that we would have eternal life with the Father. He never promised a trouble-free life. In fact, He told us the exact opposite was going to happen (John 15:18-20).
God has decided who is President of the United States, just as He has from George Washington and forward. In that sense, it matters because it is all a part of His will being done. But for us? Might we experience some difficulties as a result of who is in the White House? Of course, we might. That’s simply part of the gig. But ultimately, does it matter? It does not. This life? This world? It’s temporary. All that matters is whether we truly belong to Him. That’s the way all Believers should believe. Then all Believers would be equally at peace.
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in St. Cloud, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.