A New Leader Is Chosen. Now What…?

As long as the earth stands and as long as our country lasts, there will always be new leaders coming to the forefront. In biblical terms, you can walk through the pages of the Old Testament into the New and find leadership changes. For Israel, maybe no leadership change was more dramatic than the transition from their first great leader, who brought about unity and gave visionary direction to Israel, to the new leader who came on the scene. The Bible describes it in Joshua 1:2: “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.”  Joshua the son of Nun came to be the new leader.

On the morning after this latest election day, I was thinking about the fact that I have been a part of twelve presidential elections. Upon reflection I realized that about half of the votes I have cast for president, the person was not elected and about half of them, the person for whom I voted was elected. Of those I felt strongly about being a new leader for our land, about half of them I thought did a pretty good job. About half of them, maybe more, were
a disappointment.

Now we have a president-elect, another new leader for America.

It has been the most unusual presidential election campaign I have ever seen and if historians are anywhere near accurate in their descriptions, we haven’t had one quite like this. All of the speeches and accusations and criticisms and celebrations have been finished, and the new leader will take his place in January. What an incredible process. Over a hundred million people got up and went to the polls and cast their ballots in this election.

The choice was between a person who had never held elected office and was not a military leader, but is a businessman who had never even run for any office. The other candidate had spent most of her adult life either in office or living with a companion who was in office serving the country at high levels. The people of America chose the person who had never been chosen, over someone who in the minds of many people had made many wrong choices. The new leader who will officially become the President of the United States in January is now past the campaign period into preparation for what needs to be done. Will he do a great job? The answer will be lived out over the next several years, but The Question always asked after an election is, “Now What…?”

Even when Joshua followed Moses into a leadership position, he was in many ways an untried leader and a question mark waiting to fill the space ahead of him. That is where we are today. Some would argue that Moses had been the greatest leader of Israel, and you certainly can make a case for that, but in making the case you’ve got to realize that here’s a guy who had made mistakes in his life. Here’s a man who was at best inarticulate when he was trying to speak. Here’s a man who possessed a temper that could jerk his decisions around, and yet God raised him up to bring a people together to accomplish great things in the midst of the adversities that were ahead.

While the American people were making a decision a few days ago about for whom to vote for president, both candidates brought to the forefront their own deficiencies and distractions and detractors. All you had to do was listen to each of them talk about the other to find out that both were flawed. If we are looking for leaders without deficiencies, we would never have another election and we would never have a leader. In spite of the failures and flaws in their lives, however, God is able to raise up people who can provide significant life-changing if not culture-changing experiences and can bless His people.

In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul addresses the leaders and rulers of his day. He says the people who fill those roles are ministers of God to us, for good. The fact and reality that they are not perfect does not mean they cannot do things that are positive and be used of God. The positives that came out of this most recent election and this new leader may be a short list, but a significant list it is. The president-elect has proclaimed to all of us his commitment to the sanctity of life — not only life that is in the womb which is blessed of God, but life at the end of life. Beyond that there is his personal commitment to strengthening the country so the people will be safe, and through our strength enabling the rest of the world to be safer. There is also an opportunity to ensure that the men and women on the Supreme Court of the United States have a deep commitment to the Constitution of our land and will bring with them an awareness of the moral compass that comes from God. Those decisions will affect children and grandchildren for generations to come and may well be the most lasting legacy of this new leader.

So even though there may be deficiencies and distractions in a leader’s life, we need to stop and think about the directives and difficulties that must be dealt with. My hope and prayer for our new leader is that he will not live out the politics of petty inclusions and exclusions, but that he would live out fairness to all the people of our nation. Care and appreciation and respect for all people can be a unifying force with life-changing and nation-changing equations on our national scene.

The final thing that comes to mind as we wonder, “Now what?” has to do with direction and determination. The election is over. The formal transfer of power will take place over the next few months. The direction must be set and the determination must be found to follow and accomplish goals that will be honoring to God and a blessing to His people. It is impossible for anyone to be a leader without being accompanied by great followers. The Bible says that we are to pray for those who are in places of authority, and I would encourage you to pray for our current president as well as our president-elect.

You may have watched the president-elect over the past months as he day-after-day worked so hard to be elected. Both of the candidates worked hard, but now the work really begins. It involves learning the ropes and putting together a team of other caring leaders to live out the responsibility that God has placed on their shoulders. We can pray for him. We can give him some time and we can be flexible in our evaluations of him and ask God to bless him as he blesses America as our new leader.

Now what…? We trust God. When I woke up the day after the election, my first thought was that Jesus is still on His throne. He was and He is and He always will be. My prayer is that He will guide every one of our leaders in our nation, our state, our cities, and in our individual lives.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer