On April 27 last year I remarked on the significant decisions that would be made at the polls in the second half of the year. In the United Kingdom: to exit or to remain in the European Union. In the USA: the election of a new president and representatives in both Houses of Congress. As we know, the unexpected occurred: Britain voted Brexit and Donald Trump is to be inaugurated as the forty-fifth President of the USA this Friday. The immediate post-election rise of the share-markets in the US and the recent faltering of the markets indicate the uncertainty that exists. 


So how should we respond? Surely, to begin with, thanksgiving to the Lord that we live in a democracy where smooth transitions can be made. We may not agree with the electoral outcomes but it is truly remarkable that with significant changes, there is no fighting in the streets. Protests there may be but, thanks be to God, the protests in the main are peaceful.

Further, we need to pray. Paul the Apostle’s words in 1 Timothy 2:1-4: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers and intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


As citizens, we have the responsibility to the State. We need to remember that as God’s people we are called to ‘seek the welfare of the city’ (Jeremiah 29:7). This doesn’t mean that we lose sight of the tension of the is and the not yet of God’s kingdom. However, we need to remember that as God’s people we do have a part to play in the life of the community and the wider world.

At the same time, we should be mindful that politics will never provide the ultimate solution to our human troubles. To quote Jeremiah again, the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). While we need leaders and government for the good order and management of society, we need to agree that the human tragedy is such that we need radical surgery to clean up the mess. 

Above all, let’s remember that whatever happens around us, the Lord continues to work out his purposes in our world. Despite the derision, the opposition, or even the persecution we might experience from political leaders or those around us who want us to embrace a secular, liberal progressive agenda, God will always have the last word.

In Psalm 2:1-4 we read:

Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.’  


If we find the words of this Psalm difficult to believe, bear this in mind: God is the God of the Unexpected. Unexpected things do happen: they happened with the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA. Furthermore, Jesus himself predicted the events of his arrest and resurrection, Why should we doubt him when he speaks of his ultimate return?

How important it is that we do not cease praying for God’s mercy towards our leaders, that they will exercise their responsibilities justly, with wisdom and for the good of ‘the city’ and the world. In particular, let’s pray that we might enjoy peace so that we will have better opportunities to promote the good news of God’s truth and love.

© John G. Mason