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Erick Erickson / Nov. 20, 2020

Hope in Dark Times

Christianity teaches that no leader comes to power without God's providence.

Last week, on my syndicated radio program, I told my listeners that even though there was probably fraud in the election, it would not be enough to overcome the margin of Joe Biden’s victory. Joe Biden is President-elect.

I think there probably were some acts of fraud. In Pennsylvania, however, President Donald Trump’s legal team has abandoned their fraud claims. In Georgia, while new votes have been discovered, it is not enough to overcome the margin of Joe Biden’s victory. In Michigan, Biden’s victory is over 147,000 votes, and the fraud claims as alleged amounted to only around 1000 votes cast.

After telling my listeners Biden would be President-elect, I said scripture calls for us to pray for our leaders. Peter and Paul, both soon to be executed by the Roman Emperor Nero, exhorted the early Christians to pray for the emperor and honor him nonetheless. Their admonishment to pray was not to pray against the emperor but to actually pray for his well-being and that God might work through him.

One of my listeners said she would not do this, and if scripture said to do that, then scripture might not be the inerrant word of God after all. I was flabbergasted. Elections do not always go as we want. Whether through fraud or legitimately, President Trump will end his term on Jan. 20, 2021, at noon, and scripture tells us this is part of God’s plan.

In fact, Christianity teaches that no leader comes to power without God’s providence. Rulers come and go, and God never leaves his throne. God works through rulers. During the Roman persecutions, though the pagan emperors were slaughtering Christians, God was using that persecution to strengthen the church and grow it. Christianity tends to thrive in persecution. Christianity at the tables of power often gets sclerotic and vapid. Earthly power tends to make shallow Christians.

A week ago, I saw someone wonder where were all the Christian pastors who people wanted to kill. Most of those pastors, frankly, had been getting pilloried for admonishing Christians about the President’s character and behavior. These pastors have not fared well in the past few years in conservative churches.

Now, Christians will have to get used to being on the outs again. But scripture provides encouragement at times like these. A friend strung together a few passages of scripture that I mediate over often, and it seems appropriate to pass them on to people of faith coming to terms with an election wherein many convinced them God was on their side, so their candidate could not lose. The reality is that God has a plan, and we only glimpse a part of it.

The passages go like this: We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with have the power to demolish strongholds. For our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil. It is God who arms me with strength. He is the God who avenges me … who saves me from my enemies. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go. Do not be afraid of them for the Lord Your God himself will fight for you. Seek the welfare of the city in which you are in exile and pray for it, for there you will find your welfare. Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. The Lord is my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my stronghold. No weapon forged against you will prosper and you will refute every tongue that accuses you — this is the heritage of the Lord’s servants. For the battle is the Lord’s. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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