October 28, 2020

Dear Friends,

It may be a week from now. Or it may take a little longer. But we are about to have a nation full of sad, disappointed, angry, frightened people. No matter who is eventually declared the winner of next week’s presidential election, many of our family members or neighbors or co-workers or – well, maybe even some of us – are going grieve over the results.

Have you thought about that? Have you prepared yourself for a result that you won’t like?

In my lifetime, there has never been a more emotionally charged moment. There has never been a more polarized electorate. For decades now, I’ve heard people say, about an upcoming election, that “this is the most important election in our history.” It’s become such a cliché that I think most of tune it out at this point. But in 2020, the stakes feel higher than ever, mostly because of how people on either side of the political divide may respond to a result they don’t like. Four years ago, people marched and chanted “not my president” when the election was over. This time, I concerned that the response will be stronger and more destructive than that, no matter who wins. I hope I’m wrong.

The rhetoric about the candidates and their proposed policies has become so heated, I’m concerned about the emotional impact will be in the lives of those who are on the losing side. Couple an unfavorable election result (however you define it) with rising COVID rates world wide, and what you get is a recipe for and explosion in stress, anxiety and depression rates.

How will you respond?

I believe all of us should start preparing ourselves now for what’s coming by meditating on (and maybe even memorizing) two passages of scripture.

The first comes from the pen of a prison inmate who was facing execution. Writing to the members of a church he had helped to plant, the apostle Paul passed along what he had found as the key to experiencing joy in every circumstance. “I have learned,” Paul wrote, “in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

The puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wrote, in his classic work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment “to be well skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence of a Christian… One drop of the sweetness of heaven is enough to take away all the sourness and bitterness of all the afflictions in the world.”

It is not wrong to experience disappointment or to lament the outcome of an election any more than it is wrong to grieve when God’s name or character are dishonored in our world. The question is whether we take our sorrow and fear to Jesus. That’s what Paul did with his afflictions. In his weakness, he looked to God to supply grace. And that’s God’s specialty.

The other passage I’d point you to come from the same pen. This time, Paul is writing to the Christians in Thessalonica. At the end of his first letter to them he gives three staccato commands. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). Notice the repetition; always, in all circumstances, without ceasing – rejoice, pray and give thanks.

And for good measure, he tacks on an additional admonition: “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Every form.

Whatever happens in the presidential election, God is still the sovereign ruler over all things. There may be dark days ahead for our nation. But as we’ll see in our study of John’s gospel this week, Jesus declares that He is “the light of the world.” The Bible says that we who are followers of Jesus are “children of the light, children of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

And while the news networks wait to declare a winner in the presidential race, God’s victory is certain. And so is ours.

Prepare your heart now so that whatever happens next week, you know where your hope comes from. Not from the Electoral College. But from One who rules the nations.

Speaking of the election, this Sunday night at 6:30, we’ll gather at church to pray for our country. Everyone is welcome. If you’d like to join us on line, we will be live streaming our prayer time together.

It’s almost Trunk or Treat time!

If you’re helping out this year, you should have received an email from Jen Gurney this week with instructions on when to arrive and how the event will be organized. Please keep in mind that the safety of our guests in our parking lot is our top priority. As much as we all love to visit and mingle, we want to be very careful with our distancing. Let’s make sure this is a fun and safe event.

If you have questions about the event, or if you’re helping out and you didn’t receive an email from Jen, let her know. Jengiles1@yahoo.com. And if you’re bringing your kids to participate in the fun, here again is all you need to know.

ELDERS and DEACONS

As I mentioned last week, if there are men you believe we should be considering for a leadership position at Redeemer, now is the time to pass along their names to any of the current elders or deacons. Over the next month, we’ll be spending time praying about who we believe God might be setting apart in our church for this kind of service.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS ENDS

I think we’re all going to need to be rested up for what’s happening next week. So I’ve decided to give everyone an extra hour of sleep this Saturday night.

It was a bold statement. But everyone understood the claim Jesus was making when He declared that He is the light of the world. We’ll look at the confrontation that followed Jesus’ declaration as look at John 8 again this week.

See you (in person or on line) Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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