On Election Day

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Jonah 4:1-11

We read the end of Jonah’s story on Election Day for the United States. In less than twenty-four hours our fears will be relieved or realized.

Jonah’s fears are realized. His enemies repent and avoid the consequences of their wicked ways. God’s grace makes all this possible.

How many of us will go to bed tonight or wake in the morning feeling like Jonah, angry and convinced that what has happened is utterly wrong? I hope we won’t feel so devastated that we, like Jonah, would rather die than live with the election results.

Just as we must live with the consequences of our democracy, so Jonah must live with the faithful love and compassionate mercy God offers his enemies. Perhaps God’s description of those living in the capital as those who can’t tell their right hand from their left (v. 11) offers a moment of comic relief.

Jonah wants to complain about his enemies, but God focuses on Jonah. What does God want us to learn from this? When we feel similar anger can we remember how God offers grace to us that we do not deserve either?

Christians on the left and the right hold beloved convictions that make all of us hope our candidates will win. But whatever happens today, can we make sure our anxious fears don’t become judgmental anger tomorrow? For some of us, submitting to a root canal without anesthesia might be easier. If we let God’s Spirit live through us, however, and remember that God’s mercy washes over us all, perhaps we can humbly move forward in love and mercy.

Life Question

When we’re angry with others, what does God want us to learn about ourselves?

Prayer

God of all, you transcend the pride and greed of partisan politics. Prepare us for today’s results. Grant us humility, perspective, and gratitude for your patient faithfulness and mercy toward us all. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Volume 25.1 of Reflections.

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