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The streets of Manhattan get pretty crazy. You're bullied by buses, taxis and surging pedestrians. And unhinged by honking horns, screaming sirens, rushing people. Awful, many say.
And then there's the view from the Freedom Tower. Awesome, many say. Above the mess and stress. Amazed by a whole new perspective, a breathtaking view of the island, the harbor, the city.
It all looks different from higher up.
So does what one historian has called America's "wildest election in modern history." For months, Americans have been swept up in a political spectacle almost beyond belief and beyond description.
I've needed to grab the elevator to the top floor. To see how this all looks from higher up. To get a different perspective from the one I see on "the street." The view from God's window. Described in His Book.
First, the elevated importance of God's hope-carriers. At a time when hope is hard to find.
A few weeks back, a late night comedian quipped: "Well, only 35 days until the election. And then...the Book of Revelation!" Not particularly funny, but pretty revealing. People see apocalyptic possibilities, unsolvable problems, an unraveling culture, and leaders with lots of baggage.
So, someone who's living with contagious hope is like a light in a dark night. Hope that demonstrates that things you thought could never change can change.
That's the kind of hope Jesus has given me. And millions of others who have pinned their hopes for forgiveness on Jesus' death on the cross. And their hope of supernatural change in the power that brought Him back from the grave.
Those who carry that hope have never been more needed. God's Book says the magnet in His people is "the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). Not the beliefs you have or the church you go to. This is hope with a Name. His Name is Jesus. As the Bible says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).
With so many rejecting "religion" and preaching - with the public square increasingly closed to anything Jesus, one light becomes more vital than ever.
The Jesus-follower they know. The living proof that a husband or wife can change; a parent can change; a temper, an addiction, a life "all about me" can change. Because of Jesus. Who gives hope when the doctor can't...in a "hopeless" marriage...in the depths of grief.
And hope can be seen in a time when disappointment, dysfunction and despair seem to be winning. For many, a time like now.
We don't need to be known by our political affiliation, our anger, our anxiety. We need to be known for our hope. Beacons of hope on a dark stretch of beach.
From higher up, God sees His people, living and speaking their Jesus, as the epicenter of hope in these uncharted times. If they sink to being anything less, the light goes out.
And that leads me to the other view from the "top floor."
The elevated importance of having our trust in the right place. We're so enamored with human solutions. So God lets us reach a point of healthy disillusionment with our disappointing "saviors."
After some Wall Street friends were ravaged by the financial collapse of 2008, one brother said: "If you'd asked any of us believers on the Street where our trust was, we would have said, 'Oh, we're trusting the Lord.' Until we lost what we'd really been trusting in."
God sometimes lets that happen. So we'll refocus our trust on our unchanging, unlimited God. The Apostle Paul said of his shattered human hopes, "This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead" (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Whatever happens in an election, an economy, or our personal battles, there is one - and only one - certain hope.
"When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Stand by for the stunning answer: "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne" (Psalm 11:3-4). Whoever's in the White House, God is on the Throne.
Heaven has projected the Winner. For all seasons, for all time.