Though tomorrow’s election is important, it is not ultimate. You can pray, vote, and share your voice without becoming worried sick.
There are actually two elections taking place this week. The first is the election of a president and other governing officials. In that election, we don’t control the outcome—we each get just one vote. But there’s a second election taking place this week. And, for the second election, we control the outcome 100%. It’s the election of the heart—what we each decide to do with our heart regardless of the political ups and downs.
When Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” (John 14:1), He implied that we have some choice in the matter. We can’t control the outcome of the election, but we can guard our hearts from worry and bitterness (Proverbs 4:23). And we must.
It’s one thing to feel deeply about important political matters (and most certainly do)—it’s another thing to become so enmeshed in the country’s woes that it robs us of peace and joy.
When something important (like an election or the well-being of our children or our bank accounts) becomes ultimate (“I can’t be be OK without it), then it becomes an idol. And idols destroy our hearts.
Jeremiah proclaimed a curious prophecy: “ … every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.” (Jer. 10:14) It’s odd because, if an idol has “no breath” (no life or power), how can it “shame” the idol maker? How can a powerless idol exert power over its worshipers? It scares and shames its maker by taunting him/her with the prospect of not getting the thing idolized.
If we make this election ultimate in our hearts, then we make an idol out of it (or out of our candidate). The election is important, but it is not all-important. Getting your candidate in office isn’t the answer to all your problems or to all the world’s problems. Jesus is the answer. He always has been and always will be.
To protect your heart from angst, I recommend telling yourself repeatedly, “This election is important, but it is not all-important. I can really care about the election without making an idol out of it.” You get only one vote at tomorrow’s ballot box, but, when it comes to electing the meditations of your heart, you get all the votes. And that’s the Gospel!