Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Ivory Cubicle | On God, Elections, Hope and Defeat

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to serve with an amazing group of GenJers on the Fairfax Student Action Team. The weekend was actually a fairly hard one for me, I'd been having school assignments piling up and was going into the weekend with minimal sleep, and then I got a text message during the middle of the week from a coworker informing me that a beloved professor had passed away.

On Tuesday, as the evening began to draw to a close, we found ourselves anxiously biting our nails waiting for the Ohio results to come in. Then the news called Ohio for Obama, and the entire presidency with it. I noticed that everyone at the victory party immediately started conjecture schemes for how Romney could still pull out a victory. People refused to believe they'd lost until the numbers came in for certain. Pundits started speculating that a number of outstanding Republican districts could still swing the state. It was a tangible realization that “hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

It reminded me of the words of St. Augustine, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord.” It struck me that this restlessness is what leads us to hope. We sense a certain disequilibrium in the world, and it leads us to strive for peace. We turn towards that which promises peace and rest, often placing our trust in the works of man. We apply our problem solving skills to the issue, we construct a plan for solving it, we place ourselves on a path that promises tranquility, and we follow it. But when we hope in temporal things, they ultimately put us to shame. Our stable world gets thrown back into disequilibrium when our carefully laid plans fail to produce the result we hoped for.

The reason is because we have not properly grounded these earthly hopes in our great and final hope, our Lord Jesus Christ. When it comes down to it, Romney was always going to fail us. If he had won, he wouldn't have been able to turn back Adam's curse. He couldn't cure human nature. Some temporary respite may have been gained and some ground may have been taken back, but ultimately, it would not have satisfied our longing for stability. So perhaps there is some good in having that temporary hope removed. It forces us to be grounded in Christ alone.

Once we're grounded in Christ alone, then we can seek to do His will on this earth. If our final hope is in the promises of God, we can plan and strategize ways of accomplishing his will, and we can have a temporary hope for successes on this earth. But when those hopes fail, as they often do, we remain grounded in Christ Jesus and confident in His sovereign plan. We can be saddened by our country's loss, and we ought to mourn with her, but we do so with our final hope in mind.

I'm really encouraged that a lot of the students I talked to had this perspective on politics. For those of you who are still struggling to make sense of the results this past Tuesday, I'd encourage you all to make sure that you have your faith in Christ as the center of your political paradigm (and all aspects of life, for that matter). From that foundation, we can then strive to do his bidding and “strive to enter God's rest” (Hebrews 4:11).

My team during the Fairfax SAT. Go Olympians!
Posted by Nick Barden

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