The election for president as well as all the elections for both state and local offices is getting very close. I have candidates that I’m hoping will win and whom I believe will do a good job and make the country a better place to live. I am certainly committed to voting that day and will be very interested in who wins each election. I’m praying regularly for the election and encouraging others to do the same that God may be pleased with what happens and who is elected. But here is the question that I’m concerned most about, “What then?” What if all the candidates that I support win the elections and are ready to serve? Or what if many of the candidates that I support lose and we are left with people in the different offices that either me or you wouldn’t want to be elected at all? It seems that in every election season there is someone who makes a fool of themselves by saying if a certain person is elected they are going to leave this country and never come back. I’ve heard lots of people make such statements but have known very few that actually moved to any other country.
Some things will obviously be the case no matter who is elected. There will be things that they do after the election that will disappoint us and sometimes the disappointment will seem like we have been betrayed. No matter who the person is who runs for the offices, they believe they will be able to do more than they really will be able to do. I feel certain that we need people elected who believe they can make a difference for good. But whoever is elected they soon learn that no matter what they want to do they can’t do on their own. They need the assistance of many other people to get anything done. It always is the case that you learn once you are in office that changing things that have been in place for many years is much more difficult than you ever thought it would be. If a candidate is elected and they have made twenty promises of good things they intend to do once in office, and they are able by tremendous effort to accomplish 15 of the 20 things they promised, how would we feel about their work? I suspect that many would focus on the five that were not accomplished instead of the fifteen that were. Most of the time when a person tells what they want to do when elected they are honestly planning to do those things. But they don’t know what may happen during their term that might delay or destroy their ability to carry them out. Think for a moment of the change made in George Bush’s dreams and commitments when he was president and 9-11 took place. Whether we think it was a good or bad change isn’t the point. The point is that things may happen in any person’s term that no one dreamed of happening and for which they couldn’t have been prepared.
But what happens in your mind and actions if your candidates lose and you are forced to have leaders that were not of your choosing? What if the leaders that are selected are ones that you felt with all your being would be the downfall of the nation for them to be elected? Having lived through lots of elections and seen many elected both that I had voted for and ones I had voted against I know that life goes on. Sometimes the ones I had voted against turn out to be an excellent leaders and do good for the people. Sometimes the candidates I supported were elected and turned out to be do-nothing leaders that accomplished almost nothing for the country or the people.
May I offer a few suggestions that may be helpful on the matter. First, whoever is elected, keep praying for them regularly. Remember Paul’s instruction to Timothy to “Pray for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness.” I suspect that most leaders do about as well as we do in our prayers for them. If we leave them without prayers and on their own they likely will be poor leaders. Second, give them the benefit of the doubt. It is easy to be opposed to everything a person says or does because they weren’t the ones we wanted. Third when something is done right, recognize it and praise it. If we do that, people will be more ready to listen when we see something that was done wrong and make note of that. Fourth, realize that if a person is elected it is because the majority of the people believed that they were the best candidates. Some of them knew more about the man than you did and were for them. Some knew less that you did and were for them for all the wrong reasons. But they were elected because the majority of the people or the electoral college voted for them. Every leader is chosen by the majority but is supposed to lead for all the people. Finally, continue to do what is right no matter who is in office. I don’t believe that any elected official is going to make the major differences in this country or any other. Most of what goes on will be because God is leading in that direction or because we have rejected God’s lead and have headed out in our own direction. God’s will can never be determined by a vote and his work can as easily be done by a small minority as it can with a huge majority.