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Regardless of the Outcome on November 3rd, This Will Still Be True on November 4th

November 2, 2020 | Jim Keena

Regardless of the outcome on November 3rd, this will still be true on November 4th

Since I was born in the Eisenhower administration, this is my fifteenth national election. And it has been the most acrimonious and divisive of my lifetime. According to my internal polling (numbers I’ve generated in my mind), regardless of the outcome, 40% of my friends will be angry, 40% will be overjoyed, and 20% will remain blissfully ambivalent. (In full disclosure, there’s a plus or minus seven percentage point margin of error in my polling data). But regardless of the outcome on November 3rd, there’s something that will still be true on November 4th!

During this election cycle, I’ve struggled to control my frustration and anxiety. One day, a sentence from Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest, came to mind. The devotional was based upon Psalm 37:8, “Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil-doing.” He stated that fretting always ends in sin, because “Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.” Later, he closed with a single sentence which shifted my thinking. He wrote, “All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”

Romans 11:33-36 ranks among my favorite passages. It’s a paragraph that urges us to calculate with God. These four verses are a doxology, a short hymn of praise to God. The passage reads:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen (Romans 11:33–36).

So, here’s what will still be true on November 4th: God will do what is right, regardless of what you think, because he’s Sovereign.

God will do what is right

In verse 33, Paul praises God because He’s all-knowing and all-powerful. There’s a depth and richness to His “wisdom and knowledge.” As a result, God always makes informed decisions and takes the best path. Therefore, calculating with God is knowing He knows the whole story and resting in the wisdom of His decisions. Here’s a truth we must take by faith; if we knew what God knows, we would do what God does. Believing that God will do what is right is calculating with God.

Regardless of what you think

In verses 34-35, Paul asks three rhetorical questions. Here’s a paraphrase of each one. Do you fully know what God’s thinking? Are you smart enough to give him advice? Or have you done so much for God that He owes you? The implied answer to these questions is, “No!” John Stott writes, “It would be absurd to claim (since his thoughts are unsearchable) that we know the mind of God and have offered him advice.”

So, let’s be honest, have you ever given God counsel as to who should win the election? Or have you said to God, “Since I’ve done so much for you, you should let my candidate win?” In those cases, that’s asking God to calculate with you in mind! Regardless of what you think, God knows what He’s doing.

Because He’s Sovereign

The final phrase of praise reads, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36). God is the creator, sustainer, and culmination of all things, for all eternity. Again, Stott comments, “He is the Alpha and Omega, and every letter of the alphabet in between.”

So how do we calculate with God in mind? Place the events of November 3rd on a timeline that stretches from eternity past to eternity future. View them as being under the control of our Sovereign God. And then decide if you need to worry or fret. Because, no matter who wins the election, God will do what is right, regardless of what you think, because he’s Sovereign.

Jim Keena

Professor of Pastoral Theology and Church Relations

The Rev. Jim Keena was senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Bozeman from 2008 through early 2020, when he joined the […]

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