Never before has a presidential election driven me to the brink of insanity. It keeps me up at night. And this morning, I awoke just plain angry. I brewed my coffee and sat down with Bible in hand by lamplight. I turned to the psalm of the day, Psalm 11, which opens like this: In the LORD I take refuge.
“Yeees," I breathed with relief. This was exactly what I needed. My country is not my refuge. God is. I know this, but it’s good to be reminded, first thing, as I worry in the dark before day begins.
The psalm goes on to describe the state of things: “Behold, the wicked bend the bow... to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” This last phrase crystallized my cries of angst. The arrow of David’s sharp question pierced me. It stuck in my gut. But it didn’t hurt. It felt good to hear David diagnose the problem so acutely. And to know that he felt exactly the way I do today about his scene then, three thousand years ago, was just so very comforting.
Psalm 11 then turns about-face from David’s despairing comment (if the foundations are destroyed...) to a reality that turns his darkness to noonday bright. He closes with these assuring words:
“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face."
The wicked will receive justice. We can leave that to God, for as the saying goes, “The wheels of God grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.” Thank God they do. This truth frees me to stop worrying and start working, working for justice in small ways here and now. I don’t have to be judge. God is. And one day, justice will be done.
Things have pretty much always been bad. But there has always been hope, because the Lord is our refuge. My circumstances don’t secure me; neither does my nation-state. Crazies and criminals line the ballot, but God sits on His throne and reigns, and because of Christ, I do too (Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 3:1-3). And one day, I will behold his face. That is enough. That’s a truth that pulls me back from the edge of lunacy, to settle in, to dig in, to do good, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.
Come election time, I’ll cast my vote. For whom? I’m not sure. But my conscience will be clean and my eyes fixed, not on this crazy scene but on Christ, “my Lord, and my God” (John 20:28).