Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Paul says that God has put each and every person in power and to submit to them (meaning to honor and respect them) because that is ultimately honoring and respecting the one who put them there...God Himself. Paul wrote that to encourage people who were in a very bad place. A time when they could be recognized for their religion and have the police show up at home, take them down to the square to be burned on a stake and laughed at by a huge crowd of people. This text was encouraging because even in the midst of something THAT he was reminding them that there’s always someone bigger than all our problems.
[Plus aren’t you glad everyone in American has religious freedom?! I wouldn’t wish that on anyone of any religion or race or anything. As a whole, people have actually come a long way. No government should ever hold up one religion higher than another or we end up in the same horrible place.
So let’s do some more encouraging in a time when things kinda just suck a lot.
HOW TO SEE SOMETHING SO BIG
Now again when I try to see all this as if I’m reading a summary of it in the future I realized where we all lose focus. It’s the stinking details. May I remind you who is in the details? ...exactly. If God’s big picture plan is perfect then what do you think Satan wants to do? Satan literally just means "deceiver" (the ultimate deceiver, but still that’s his only power which makes him pretty weak in a sense) It’s simple. He just distracts in super subtle ways. We’re in the middle of information more-so than than ever and that’s all we can see because it’s blasted at us. He knows that negative news spreads six times faster and he uses that.
Removing ourselves from news and media isn’t bad if you lean into a Bible instead. I’ve been far removed from news outlets for about three years Yes even during corona viruses and it’s fine. It’s really impossible to miss the things that you actually need to hear. So in order to get a bigger perspective remove yourself from it and I’m telling you his biggest weapon becomes useless. When you step outside the media you can see very clearly that God is working a much bigger plan and even though we only get glimpses of as it's happening - each little glimpse is a reminder who’s in control. That’s when the peace kicks in. Peace like a river baby. If media is bringing you down, then get out of there, regroup and refocus. Just like anything you probably just need a break from it.
Understanding this brings you actual, perfect peace. Not only in the vastness of the world and it’s workings, but even at your job in the little things. In Romans when it talks about honoring people in power I’m seeing that it means everyone from your boss, to the head of the company, to the Mayor, to the President of the US and even the scarier unknown people above him with way too much money and power.
Officials all are free to make their own decision as human beings, but God does something good with them in the end. It’s nuts. Just look for it. [but not in the media. It will never be there.] Does that mean our votes are pointless? No. Without the freedom to vote we’d live in a very different country (probably closer to Rome) and I’m thankful for it, but votes don’t control the outcome. They just effect...the details.
OH WAIT! POLITICS AREN'T BAD
Let me be clear about politics. They are definitely kinda awesome. I’m not downplaying their importance, in fact they can be really fun and interesting to follow. Some people love them because it’s like stepping into a messy world and figuring out how to fix it one little piece at a time. I think ultimately all parties have very good intentions, but struggle with disagreeing over how to achieve the same or at least similar goals.
[Blame the media for dividing us over it.]
I’m so glad people like our Mayor and Governor and thousands of other people around the country want to dive into them and they do it pretty dang well. A lot better than I would! Just don't get the overall message confused here. I’m talking about something bigger.
SUMMARY - FOR REALS THIS TIME
Let go of needing the details and start watching this happen from the bigger perspective. Almost as if it happened already and you’re reading it in a history book. It’s a much happier and less frustrating place to be, but if you add Gods sovereignty, grace and control to the equation then you find peace in all of it...no matter how bad it looks. Cause ya’ll what if it’s just the beginning of crappy things to come? You gotta have something that helps you through all of them and not just one virus or one election or one broken heart.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep on wearing my silly, little ol’ mask as a way of loving the people around me, to honor the people in power, and ultimately to thank the Creator for sustaining you and me.
“He’s got the whollllle wor-or-ld in his hands...”
If that's what you needed, then this is for you.
IF YOU'RE A CHRISTIAN
I wrote this for you - to remind you to encourage each other and to not hate over petty things like who voted for who. That's been eating me up inside. You have Jesus and you have the capability of loving people when they hurt you. Practice it and be different, so you can show Jesus' perfect love to the hurting people out there. Remember you can't love the world and love God, so when you love God you will look weird and that means you're doing it right. "Not weird" sucks and you know it.
Read your Bible four times a week. There’s a huge difference between even three and four and the effects of it will trickle down to not just you but 3 or 4 generations. There's siiick studies you can look up on that. We are living with the problems of the generations before us and this is how you prevent them and remove them. I know it’s hard. It’s weird how hard it is and how everything takes precedence over That Book, but God is ready to talk when you are. Let go dude. Start with your votes or masks or vaccine or whatever makes you mad. Remember God fights against you when you are prideful [James 4], so give it to Him so he can back you up instead.
Pleeeease read that Bible. You will love what happens.
IF I JUST SOUND WEIRD
That's fair. It really and truly is weird. It’s the complete opposite of everything else, but everything else kinda sucks, right? Ask God to prove himself and he 100% will. I promise. I promise I promise. It will be at the perfect time when you need Him most. He's your perfect dad who's always waiting to help, but waiting for you to ask. He knows when to let you try and when to show up too. So wait and expect it and watch the magic happen.