Once again, the American presidential election has had a jarring effect on people across the nation. A reminder that what actually may be upset is one’s personal belief system. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. ◊
A friend called me this week very disappointed about the presidential election results. He said that “he had prayed so much” and was honestly confused that it didn’t turn out as he had wanted.
We spoke about expectations and ideas we have as Christians and otherwise. I reminded my friend that when our own personal program of belief gets rattled, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a notice to reconfirm in whom we place our trust and belief.
Four years ago in November 2016, the US went through a presidential election which triggered Christians and non-Christians alike. I’m reprinting here today in 2020 my Biblical Viewpoint post written right after that November 2016 election in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
There are parallels relative to this year’s election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, particularly in terms of our personal faith responses and our program of belief.
(Biblical Viewpoint Nov. 11, 2016) – I read this week that a young Clinton campaign staffer angrily and publicly confronted a Clinton campaign leader with blame that her failure will bring about an early death and destruction of the world through the now presumed onslaught of global warming. The staffer was deadly serious.
Many active protesters this week believe that a new era of racism, misogyny, and homophobia will be ushered in by the new leader of the free world. While some dissenters may have tempered views, many people fully believe this.
Likewise, many people on the conservative side believed that the world would end, so to speak, if their side had not won and the country had to endure another 4 years of continued liberal policies and mindsets. Of course, many conservatives reluctantly voted yet still hold fear about what actually the new US leader will do.
Life marches on, even after hard-fought national elections. People may be bitterly disappointed that their side did not win, or have heartfelt and legitimate questions about how the nation will be governed going forward.
That’s all fair and understandable.
Because this reflects our own internal belief system, or what the great 20th century Biblical teacher, Oswald Chambers, calls our program of belief. Thoughts of anger, fear, angst, joy, relief, or frustration, reflect our personal point of view at times of high emotion. Our belief system kicks in, revealing how, in our own mind, the world and even God works or should work.
A case in point is the popular Biblical story about Jesus and a very disappointed and frustrated Martha.
Program of Belief – a Case Study
In the 11th chapter of the Book of John, we find the story of Lazarus and his 2 sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha had a particular belief system about her friend, Jesus Christ. She believed that He had the power to cure Lazarus, her ailing brother, and that had Jesus been present earlier, he could have healed him and kept him from dying. She also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do.1
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:21-24)
Martha had her own set belief on how things work, even a perspective on how Jesus could/should work. Oswald Chambers points out that Jesus patiently leads her through a non-sequitur about who He is. He questions her pointedly. Her own belief melts into a personal acceptance of His Lordship and broader perspective on who He is and what He’s doing:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:25-27)
Beyond the sadness of her brother’s death, she now has an intimacy with the Living Lord and a higher perspective on life.
Our Own Program of Belief
Think about it. As liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, we all have our own mental constructs of how the world works or should work. We each have our personal beliefs about:
- The creation of the universe and world
- The nature and character of God
- Our role and purpose in life
- The existence and purpose of Jesus
- The validity and veracity of the Bible
And even beliefs on the short and long-term effects of an American presidential election.
What Jesus wants is for us to launch past these frets and worries and into a personal intimacy with Himself. “Do you believe [who I am]?” (John 11:26) is what His question is for all of us, regardless of our worldly circumstances.
In truth, when we come face-to-face with our doubts, fears, and human perspectives at moments of crisis, Jesus wants to transform us to a new level of relationship with Him. Like He did with both Martha and Mary.
A Godly Program of Belief
A Godly and right program of belief is one in which we’re fully committed with abandon and without compromise to Jesus Christ, even in light of all that’s going on around us. That is, morally and spiritually, we are devoted in our worldview perspective with full trust and reliance on the Lord alone.
That belief system, or Chamber’s program of belief, will trump all chaos, fear, confusion, and doubt around us and provide a true and comforting peace, even lasting joy. We will then be unfettered and free to boldly pray for our new leader, that under God’s authority and hand, he may lead a good nation forward.
How is your program of belief?
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40
1 My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935), November 6, p. 311.