This Wednesday is Inauguration Day in the United States. It will be a day, not unlike four years ago, in which a nation, torn in half by opposing views during a bitter and seemingly never-ending political campaign, comes to grips with the finality of the results of the election process. President Trump was unique in that he was an outsider who did not follow many of the traditions and protocols of previous presidents. Like his predecessor, he extensively used social media in the election process and was able to communicate his message, in spite of an adversarial national media. Donald Trump was unique, in that he was one of the rare individuals elected to the presidency who has not previously been involved in politics, and certainly his party did not expect his victory. Trump emphasized the use of social media to communicate his message and was able to mobilize voters who had not voted in recent elections. Trump entered the Oval Office without previous experience in governing and a great amount of speculation and skepticism as to how he would govern.
Many years ago there was another unique American president elected, who was not part of the Washington establishment and many felt unqualified to lead this great nation. Although he did not have social media in his era, he communicated to the people of this country in a unique way that reached into their hearts and gave them hope for a change in a time when the nation was deeply divided. He invited the public to come into the White House and personally share their concerns and opinions with him. At the time of his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president, inherited a nation bitterly divided and enthralled in a tragic Civil War. One of the reasons that Abraham Lincoln is my favorite American president is that he changed the presidency forever by openly talking about his dependence on God. For most of my life I have heard every president end a speech or a national address by saying, “May God bless the United States of America,” a practice Lincoln used regularly. It was Abraham Lincoln who called for a National Day of Prayer on several occasions, a practice that continues until today. It is that same Lincoln who thought of himself as “an instrument of God’s will.” Lincoln was more than a man used by God to end the horrors of slavery, he was a man who dared to govern a nation which had many faiths and many beliefs, from the simple premise that “the Almighty” was the only source of power and comfort the nation could depend on.
Today we live in an era of political correctness, but not of sound principles. Our prayer should be that President Biden will heed the example of Abraham Lincoln of so long ago and make himself accountable to God for his actions and decisions. Lincoln’s actions have impacted this nation for the past 160 years, and the opportunities for this new president to impact this nation are just as readily available. The question is, will he choose to allow God to use him, just as Lincoln did when his opportunity came, and will he have the courage not to bow to the politically correct solutions of recent years, but to those which are “right” in the eyes of God.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-7 Paul tells us, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.”
As believers we must pray for President Biden and his advisors. As followers of Christ, we must ask God to be able to live our lives in peace, and to be able to share our faith with those who live around us. I pray that Mr. Biden’s presidency will be characterized by the acknowledgment that “the Almighty” is in control, and that he as a president is an instrument which can be used for good by God, even in the most turbulent of times in a divided country.
May God bless the United States of America,
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.