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'Never' too soon

We have no need to rush to judgment in this odd election season


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“I can’t believe the mess we’re in,” one of my very savvy political friends fretted to me the other day. “How will we ever get it all straightened out by November?”

Well, we won’t. But one of the wonderful things the Bible makes clear about our great God is that He never seems to be in a hurry. Quick to show mercy—yes! But undoing the awful calamities His people regularly bring on themselves? No, He’ll devote 40 years to one reclamation project, and maybe 70 years to another. Even in the New Testament when He was performing one-on-one miracles, He tended to frustrate folks by just taking His time getting to the scene of the problem.

Does God seem a little slow right now getting to the scene of the breakdown? Are you frustrated because He hasn’t made clear yet (to you, at least) which candidate should get your support in this fall’s presidential election—and maybe some other offices as well? Does it frustrate you to be reduced to phrases like “NeverTrump” or “Worser of Two Evils”?

So keep this in mind, please: If the God of the universe takes His time sorting things out, why should you rush to judgment? If in His order of things, you’re allowed six more months to make up your mind about who should be our next president, why’s it so important that you show how smart you are by announcing your decisions even before God has made His purpose clear?

If we already know everything we need to make thoughtful choices, why not just settle for a three-day election cycle?

I’m not saying it’s wrong to latch on to your favorite candidate and then to give him or her the energetic benefit of your backing. I am saying it’s a bit presumptuous to assert that there’s simply no further evidence the Almighty could show you that could possibly prompt you to change your mind. Isn’t that at least part of the reasoning behind scheduling a fairly lengthy campaign? If we already know everything we need to make thoughtful choices, why not just settle for a three-day election cycle?

No, we need that extra time—and a good case in point is right at hand. It’s fair to assume, I think, that an overwhelming majority of WORLD readers would, over the last few years, have put themselves in a pretty dogmatic “NeverHillary” category. But then along comes this fellow Donald Trump, with all his baggage—prompting a number of people to back off a bit and to qualify their “NeverHillary” to a more cautious “AlmostNeverHillary.” In a “lesser of two evils” contest, these folks would say, she doesn’t look quite as bad now as she did before. Well, now. Isn’t that what political campaigns are all about?

But it works just as well in the other direction. Significant numbers of WORLD readers, I sense, have been in the “NeverTrump” category. I’ll confess you could have legitimately slapped such a label on me. With all his negatives it has been hard for me, over the last six months, to imagine any development that might make me think more positively about Mr. Trump. Yet then, in mid-May, along comes Trump’s release to the public of his surprising list of 11 examples of the kind of jurists he would name to the Supreme Court if he is elected president. It was not only an outstanding list; its publication at this point in the campaign was an unprecedented gift to the voting public.“Did you see that?” a number of “NeverTrumpers” immediately asked me by phone and email. “Does that change your thinking at all?”

Of course it does. Enough to back off the word “Never”? Maybe not—at least not yet. But maybe enough to make me question whether I should have said “Never” in the first place. There’s just so much to learn. There’s so much out there that God knows, but that I don’t know yet—and maybe never will.

Indeed, God operates with a very long calendar. He’s not in a hurry, just as He never has been, to share with us everything He already knows. For me, that’s enough to turn the traditional advice upside down and warn everybody instead: Whatever you do, don’t vote early!

Email jbelz@wng.org


Joel Belz

Joel Belz (1941–2024) was WORLD’s founder and a regular contributor of commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. He served as editor, publisher, and CEO for more than three decades at WORLD and was the author of Consider These Things.

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