A night to remember
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever." Daniel. 2. 44
Those of us who waited through the night for the result of the US elections will be reaching for the match-sticks, especially when the result we were awaiting might lie beyond another night - or two! What explains the fascination for polling in a country we don't live in and may never even visit? The answer is as obvious as it is chilling. America is the most powerful and influential country in the world. What happens there matters to all of us. The outcome of this election will determine whether the world faces another four years of divisive, quirky, partisan leadership or the prospect of a well-intentioned, yet untried, alternative.
But this won't do. The global crises we face require that we raise our sights. And we can because the future does not belong to the USA, or the incumbent in the White House. "The earth belongs unto the Lord and all that is therein..." as the 24th Psalm proclaims. God is in control and. as the Risen Jesus makes clear in the opening chapters of Revelation, he will exercise his right to "remove lamp stands" if he has to!
Even longer ago, the prophet Daniel foresaw the march of history relentlessly consigning empire after empire to its annals, with only God's Kingdom prevailing. No human empire has stood the test of time. Sometimes it has fallen prey to a superior aggressor, often its own internal decline is where the rots sets in. The question we might well ask is not "Who will win the election?" but "Is this the beginning of the end of American hegemony?" And that begs an immediate follow-on: "Who or what will replace it?"
It's a scary prospect but it does not have to be a hopeless one. Even if there transpires a vacuum of human leadership, God remains in control and his purposes cannot be thwarted. Jesus promised that not only would he build his Church but its advance would be such that not even the gates of hell shall withstand it. That is not a triumphalist boast. It is what history has borne witness to over the 2,000 years since. As empires have come and gone, the Church has expanded and multiplied and covered the globe. Its progress has not been through military victories or commercial enterprise but through martyrdom and sacrifice, through discipline and faithfulness. It is God's story, written through his people. Its conclusion is assured but it's not finished yet. We are the next chapter...