Hope During the Democratic National Convention
Some of you just clicked on this thinking, “Oh no. We’ve lost Pearson. He’s ‘one of them’ now. I can’t believe it.”
Hang with me for a moment. This isn’t a political thing.
I’ve grown up red.
I live in a red state.
I pastor (mostly) red people.
I’ve been told I have a red neck.
I am a Bible-believing, evangelical conservative. You can exhale.
I own, and am proud of my right to own, a Daisy BB gun.
But I have to tell you, as I have watched the Democratic National Convention (DNC) the last couple of nights, I have been encouraged. Before you leave a comment, click off, or get ready to send me a nasty email – hear me. I am encouraged, not by policies and statements. I am encouraged by the essence of two realities being (ever-so-subtle) expressed.
Let me explain.
First, the spoken word still matters.
Words matter. Speeches matter. People preparing comments and expressing their thoughts matters. Spoken words from one person to others still changes things. A right word spoken at the right time can impact a nation, a group, a generation, a culture.
As a preacher, this encourages me.
God has designed us to learn from others. To be inspired by others. To be challenged by others. To be saved by hearing others preach.
I am encouraged that many throughout our nation (and the world?) are tuning in to hear men and women talking – sharing what they believe to be truth and seeking to inspire others to action. This means preaching still works. (Always has and always will, but you know what I mean.)
Second, America is longing for someone to fix everything.
This week, every speech is about how Donald Trump messed everything up and how Joe Biden will fix it. Next week it will be how Joe will mess up everything Donald has restored over the past four years. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. You don’t have to watch or hear a word to know how the script is going to go. But it is very interesting to me how every speaker – from Michele to Bernie – is telling us how bad things are and how they believe (in their opinion) Joe Biden is the man to put together our broken country.
Again, I must say – in a very bizarre way – this encourages me. In a sense they are all correct. In a sense they are all wrong. Yes, America is broken. Yes, things are messed up. Regardless of what political side you fall on, everyone admits that things are, um, not good (to put it ever so mildly). And, yes, we need someone to fix it. We need someone who will right the ship. We need someone who will restore peace and trust and liberty and justice for all. Yes. Yes. and Yes. I agree with every single speaker from the virtual DNC stage on this. And when the Republicans get their shot and tell the world how we need a man who will “keep” it moving in a good direction I will agree. We need someone who will move us in – and point us to – the right and proper way.
It seems, as I watch, every single American is longing for someone to fix what is broken. This encourages me.
But here is where they (and me and us, more than I like to admit) are wrong: a new President ain’t gonna fix it. Sorry. My North Alabama roots come out without me thinking sometimes. A new President, or a re-elected President, will not fix our country. The longing is correct. The hoped-for cure is off.
Before some of you get in another wad, hear me loud and clear: I believe it is critical and vital and necessary for us to do everything we can to vote according to our convictions and work to put someone in office who will run our country in a righteous and respectable way. But whoever sits in the Oval Office will not fix the problem.
The longing we all have – for someone to fix what is so badly broken – is and can only be found in Jesus.
As a matter of fact, this is precisely what Paul was getting at in 1 Timothy 2:1-7. He didn’t ask for prayer for a great leader of his nation of residence. There’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s not what the text says. He called the church to pray for the leadership so they could be about helping people find what/who their hearts really longed for: Jesus. The focus wasn’t on getting the right leader in place. The focus was on the church being able to connect others to the Ultimate Leader.
So, yes, this proud owner of a Daisy BB Gun has been encouraged watching the DNC over the past couple of nights. Our country is longing for a Savior. And the spoken word still works. Let’s not waste our voice arguing over something that will not ultimately matter. Let’s use our spoken words to help others meet the longing of their souls.
It really is a great time to talk about the One who was, and is, and is to come.