What If?

As I am writing this, people in my country are voting in mid-term elections.  Many of them are voting in fear, confusion, or anger, and asking, “What if my candidate/cause/political party doesn’t ‘win’ today?”  “What if I voted for the ‘wrong’ policies or people?”  “What does the future hold?”

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These are not uncommon or unrealistic questions, but they are questions that waste our time and sap our energy in hypothetical posturing.  The writer of Ecclesiastes says:

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 King James Version (KJV)

11 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. 

It is not wrong to wonder about the future, but we cannot be sure that our actions will always produce the results we long for– especially when we have little control over other people’s actions and consequences.  The first two verses of this passage warn us not to “put all of our eggs in one basket”.  As free citizens in a democratic republic, we shouldn’t put our trust in any one political party, platform, or politician.  Nor should we live in a social or political “echo chamber”, listening only to the views and ideas with which we feel most comfortable, or least challenged.  However, we should look at the long-term consequences of proposals and the reasons behind them before we promote change just for the sake of it.

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The third verse reminds us that some changes and events are beyond our knowledge or control.  It’s not that our vote “doesn’t make a difference” or that we’re on “the wrong side of history”– it may mean that history has taken a detour surrounding a certain issue.  It may mean that God is allowing for something we have not imagined (as He did in the days of Habakkuk). Get some great “Insight” into the Book of Habakkuk here.

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But there is more wisdom to come in verses 4-6.  Waiting for certainty of outcome, or being distracted by our circumstances or every “wind of change” can lead us to miss the very real opportunities for present action.  God has given us everything we need (see yesterday’s blog) for godly living and godly decision-making.  That doesn’t mean that our decisions will always reflect popular “wisdom”; it doesn’t even mean that our decisions will be the same as all other fellow believers and followers of Christ.  It DOES mean that we can make our decisions without fear.  God knows us– He understands your heart and mind better than anyone; He knows why people who agree on spiritual matters may not agree on politics.  But more than that, God KNOWS the future!  He knows all the things that we merely guess at.  So we should act in the present with the best information we have, and leave the rest to the God who knows best.

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Modern politics relies heavily on conjecture– polls, predictions, pledges, projections, plans, and campaign promises.  But God is still sovereign over all nations, governments, and peoples.  Instead of asking, “What if..” we should be asking of God, “What now?!”   And we need to be ready to listen and obey!  Let’s pray today for the wisdom to listen more, act with confidence, and trust our future to the one who has already seen it!

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