by Dale Reeves
I’m going to be honest as I sit in my office the morning after Tuesday night’s election. I am thrilled that two godly men with integrity and great leadership ability were elected to Mason City Council. Josh Styrcula, a dedicated member of Christ’s Church who serves in our youth ministry, was reelected to council; and my good friend Scott Gibson was elected the first time he has run for office. My prayers will be with them and their beautiful families as they embark on this journey that can be very thankless.
But, apart from that good news, I find myself this morning fighting a spirit of sadness and hopelessness for the state in which we find ourselves in our “post-Christian” nation. I read some posts last night from a number of my friends who said similar things such as, “I’ve always been proud to live in the state of Ohio . . . today is not one of those days.”
This week in the state of Ohio, with over 3.8 million votes tabulated, Issue 1 passed with a majority (56.6%) choosing to make the right to an abortion protected by our State Constitution. This amendment will go into effect in thirty days. As I stood in the voting booth with my pen yesterday, I read all the statements that comprise this amendment, such as:
—“an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion”
—“grant a pregnant woman’s treating physician the authority to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether an unborn child is viable”
—“always allow an unborn child to be aborted at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability, if in the treating physician’s determination, the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health”
Notice some of the key phrases: “an individual’s right” (not just a woman); “not limited to abortion” (which includes sex-change operations); “at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability.” A sad day, indeed. And, today I’m not even writing about the outcome of Issue 2.
And, then, as I was drowning my tears in my second cup of coffee, I received a text from my sister Angie, who said, “Yes, the glass is emptying. However, our God is still in control . . . all those unborn babies go straight to Heaven!” Shortly thereafter I received another text reporting good news of God’s hand working in the lives of two little adopted girls from another country. One of the two girls, five-year-old twins, had a benign brain tumor removed about a month ago, and the adoptive parents are seeing baby steps of progress. As the text I received from a relative shared,
“The parents were chosen by these girls’ brave mother to raise her daughters. Thankful this mama didn’t choose abortion! . . . Prayers are giving us all hope! Love wins!”
I’m guessing that you are like me in that you need to hear some good news in this world of darkness. That is how we rise from the ashes. The hope that we have in Jesus can’t be dimmed by the outcome of an election. Whether things get worse or better during our lifetime, for the followers of Christ, everything eventually will end well. The apostle Paul challenges us to think along these lines:
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved” (Philippians 3:20–4:1, ESV).
I know I should not be surprised with the outcome of this election as Jesus told his believers we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33), and that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The enemy knows that as well, but he still wants to get us to dwell in a state of hopelessness. But Jesus calls us to a spirit of hopefulness. He calls us to be light-bearers and hope-sharers. Christ has come to rescue us from “the dominion of darkness” and bring us into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). Christianity is not about self-improvement or “living your best life.” It’s about a heavenly rescue from the dominion of darkness.
And, once we have been rescued, it would be selfish to keep that good news to ourselves! We are called to partner with God in rescuing others from that darkness, whether they are near or far. As the paraphrase The Message puts it: “Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns” (Philippians 2:15, 16).
To that end, I was thrilled to be able to take two of my grandsons shopping yesterday as we filled a couple of “Operation Christmas Child” shoeboxes with love. It warmed my heart to see Liam and Miles choose the items they thought boys and girls might most enjoy. We may not be able to control all that is going on in our world, our nation, or even our community, but this should just compel us even more to do everything we can to bring our children and grandchildren up to know and love Jesus, as we mentor them to be light-bearers and hope-sharers in a world filled with darkness.