As a journalist and political observer, I get variations of this question a lot during the final days of an election: So, who’s going to win? What’s going to happen? It’s predicated on the premise I have access to some inside knowledge of what will be decided. So today I will share with you what’s going to happen, and who will win.
But first, a pop quiz. No cheating. Who was elected president in 1820? If the answer didn’t spring immediately to mind, then this Reflection is for you. And if the answer did, then this Reflection is most especially written for you.
Let me be clear. A lot of polling data comes across my desk, much of it from candidates and their campaigns. So, yes, I am privy to a wider variety of data that doesn’t necessarily make it onto our or anyone else’s news pages. Lest you think that makes me more informed, the reality is that I am drowning in the sea of conflicting data-points.
For example, I recently received two emails from one campaign. The first told me the candidate’s polling had him “significantly” in the lead, so therefore our political coverage obviously needed to reflect the fact the candidate was a shoo-in. No one should bother talking about the other guy.
The second email from the same campaign had a different tone. This message said the candidate was in a fierce fight, with the race tied up “within the margin of error,” and so therefore a special contribution was critical to move ahead.
Same campaign, different messages.
As Mark Twain put it, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” A variation of that third kind would include political emails about polling statistics.
The fact of the matter is that the day after the election will be substantively similar to the day before it. Indeed, in the most important aspect, it will be precisely the same: God reigns supreme.
With the cries of woe and doom reaching a feverish pitch ahead of Tuesday’s election, we must make these three words ring louder in our ears. God reigns supreme.
Put down Facebook and pick up the Good Book. There, in the story of Daniel, we are reminded “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Or in Psalms 47:8, where we find, “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.”
In our arrogance and hubris we deceive ourselves into thinking God is on the ballot, that an election somehow dethrones Him.
In our fear, we act as though our souls hang in the balance.
Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Here is what will happen: God reigns supreme. So, yes, God reigned supreme when James Monroe crazily won a nearly unanimous election to the presidency in 1820. And God reigned supreme in 1824 when Andrew Jackson lost the presidency to John Quincy Adams, despite Jackson receiving a plurality of the popular and electoral votes, yet failed to win in the U.S. House.
Until Christ returns, every year is tumultuous and all the times are crazy.
So count it all joy to live in these times. We are here in this present age because God wants us here right now. Our job is not to be successful, but to be faithful to Him.
In everything we do, we must be faithful, which – yes – extends even to our voting. We’re not called to be winners, but to point the world to the One who won our salvation. Our joy must be found not in election victories, but the knowledge Jesus has saved us from the fate we deserve.
The most important question is already decided: God reigns supreme.