A case of post-election anxiety

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In first grade, I drew a picture of Ross Perot, an independent presidential candidate with big ears. (Looking back, they weren’t that big, but they did stick out a little.) It was 1992, the year George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton, and the world went on.

Eight years later, in the 2000 race between the younger Bush and Al Gore, I remember standing in line with my parents at a local church, waiting to vote in the kids’ election—basically a paper ballot that didn’t mean squat but got you a sticker. Bush won and the world went on.

This year is different.

Granted, I’m older now and pay more attention to the news, but never in my lifetime can I remember America feeling so divided. And not just divided, but on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Reading my Facebook feed 24 hours after the election was like listening to one of those commercials where a fast-talking announcer lists all the potential side effects of a certain pill.

May cause panic attacks, rage, relief, upset stomach, fear, tears of joy, heart burn, depression, pride, thrill, surprise, total contentment, complete disgust, indignation, hope, poor word choice and the desire to move to Canada.

People are all over the place with emotions. For many in my own circle of friends, anxiety is one of them, no matter who they voted for:

What’s next for our country? How will the next four years affect us and the next generation? What will happen to the economy, to education? Will we be safe?

I heard a local pastor say recently that no matter who’s in office, God is ruler over all: “You didn’t vote Him in, and you can’t vote Him out.”

He’s immovable, unshakable, and no matter how chaotic things get, He is constant. Whatever is on the horizon for America is no surprise to an all-powerful God who created this country and all the people in it.

“You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”
—2 Chronicles 20:6

The job of president is certainly important and its impact far reaching, but God is so much bigger than that. If we allow Him to penetrate our lives one by one, He can bring order where there’s chaos, peace where there’s restlessness—no matter who’s in the White House.

Maybe you were on cloud nine as Donald Trump emerged as our next president this time last week. Maybe his win over Hillary Clinton has been a hard pill to swallow. Maybe you’re still processing. Whatever the case, our response matters. Your response. My response.

Are we trusting in God’s sovereignty? Do we believe He has a plan in all this?

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
—Proverbs 19:21

On a more personal level, how are we treating others—fellow creations of God Himself—a week after the election?

Are we kind and compassionate toward the other side? Are we open to constructive, civil conversations, or are we busy unfriending those who don’t agree with us?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
—James 1:19

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
—Proverbs 15:1

The future of America is a big question mark for all of us, but not for God. He knows what each day holds and tells us not to fear. He is God and we are not, and all the bickering and anxiety in between will get us nowhere.

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