Sleeping Well in June 2024: A Christian Perspective on the Impact of Politics

Free little fox sleeping log

The world of politics is a major source of anxiety for some and an addiction for others. I heard someone on the radio the other day say that if you didn’t have anxiety after the presidential debate on June 27th there was something wrong with you. I understand how people find themselves in this position: the narrative of society is that government has a major impact on our lives and should be of primary importance. There’s no way we could survive if he was running the country.

But to be honest, I’m not concerned about who the next president is going to be. To be sure, neither option this year is palatable. You know what though: we’ve experienced nearly a full term of both Trump and Biden at this point and managed to survive. And maybe controversially, I don’t think we’ve gotten that close to the edge in either case.

The person in the White House doesn’t have the impact we often attribute to them. Many ascribe god-like powers to the commander-in-chief. But the president’s opinion and actions are just one small slice of what makes up our government.

Take the economy. Any direct actions, stimulus or regulations for example, are the domain of Congress, not the president. You could argue the actions of the Federal Reserve Board are presidential actions by proxy since he appoints the governors. But practically, the two knobs they have, the Federal Funds Rate and quantitative easing/tightening, are comically coarse adjustments and their effects are hard to quantify, swimming in a sea of other mitigating factors. To the extent effects can be measured, they show up a year or more after adjustments are made. The president’s only active role is to try to influence others to do something about the economy. If the president were to propose something out of line, there are a million checks to protect against collapse. Practically, the president hasn’t nearly as much power as we bestow on him.

But even if he did, I still wouldn’t be worried.

The main reason I’m not worried is that my hope is not in politics to begin with. Politicians today are sinners, just like every other human since the beginning. They haven’t solved our problems in all this time so it’s not rational to think they will any time soon.

Instead, my hope is in Christ who I’ve found can always be counted on to get me through my struggles by giving a peace that passes understanding. When our political system is reduced to nothing more than a historical footnote (and it will be), God will still be in control.

To be clear, I’m not advocating for political abstinence. As a citizen of a representative democracy I have a responsibility to be informed about politics. Millions of people have sacrificed so that we can enjoy the liberty we have. We need to steward that liberty the best we can.

I just don’t think it’s healthy, particularly for a Christian, to make politics a primary concern. Following after God’s heart and living in the peace that I can have in Him despite the political reality I find myself in are of primary importance and other things can fit in to the extent that they fit.

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:31-34

In a world where everyone is losing their heads over a couple hour PR event, I’m still sleeping well at night knowing this too shall pass.