You will all have been doing your best to see beyond all the hype and propaganda associated with the thoroughly unpleasant American election campaign, and to see what the Lord may be doing through this surprise result.
I have been more than happy hitherto not to have said anything about the larger than life figure of Donald Trump, although I did begin, many months ago, to collect a file of his more unsavoury quotes. I also confidently presumed at the time that many of his outbursts would be sure this time to sink his campaign once and for all – whether to become the republican nominee or, later, the presidential candidate. Ahem!
On American election night, a few hours before the exit polls gave their misleading forecast, I was in the bath when the Lord suddenly drew near. Quietly but clearly He said, ‘You will be surprised tonight; it will not go as the polls suggest. I want you to know that I am in this.” So, after absorbing this, I went downstairs to watch as the second national electoral surprise within twelve months unfurled.
Time magazine ran a major feature a few months ago on how Trump set out to win over a large section of the Christian vote in America. It must have been a successful strategy because many clearly decided that he represented the better choice, notwithstanding his glaring deficiencies. It is usually a great mistake to endorse someone whose character is highly suspect, but I think a lot of American Christians may have been influenced by a word that Mark Taylor gave some time ago which has been read (or heard) by well over a million people on various media platforms, declaring that God was raising this man up as a ‘Cyrus’ figure.
There have been so many ‘words’ that place America at the centre of world events, promising ‘that it will prosper more than ever’ that one is instinctively wary of anything along those lines. The mistake of confusing the Kingdom of God and true spiritual freedom with party political causes or specific individuals is all too frequently made. It is crucial to maintain the balance that it is the Lord Almighty who is the real ruler of the nations: sovereign, eternal and magnificent. Nevertheless God does have unique ways of bringing about His will for the nations. Will this prove to be one of them?
Although Donald Trump’s own grasp of theology has always struck me as being flimsy in the extreme, we can be grateful at least that his running mate, Mike Pence, describes himself as a “Christian, conservative and Republican – in that order.”
Jennifer le Clerc, the editor of Charisma magazine, had been struggling with all the weird and far from wonderful predictions that have been swirling around the whole matter of the election. She woke up on election day itself, however, with a clear word that ‘a kingdom was going to be toppled that day.’ Looking up the word ‘kingdom’ in the Merriam-Webster‘s dictionary she was struck by one of the definitions being “a politically organized community.’
An unusually high percentage of people in this election voted as a protest against the other candidate. Many plumped for Trump on the basis that anything was better than a globalist New Ager. In this they may have been influenced by Eric Barger’s articles, ‘Unravelling Hillary’s religion’, which chart her involvement with occult sources, including the regular ‘conversations’ that she has with the long deceased Eleanor Roosevelt.
In the event, nearly 47% of eligible American voters did not consider either candidate worth voting for and stayed at home. What is for sure is that one kingdom really has been toppled, and we are duty bound to pray for the next administration!
How will this play out in the rest of the world?
I would suggest that it is not enough just to sit back and say ‘time will tell’; it is time to pray for how this new and unexpected scenario develops. And since America has never fared well when it seeks to be protectionist and isolationist,how does this play out as regards the rest of the world?
The Kremlin and the Russian parliament, the Duma, are predictably delighted – not least because of Trump’s oft stated reluctance to commit to the core tenet of NATO policy which is that an attack on one country is an attack on all. Newt Gingrich recently – and horrifyingly – described Estonia as being ‘a suburb of St Petersburg’. Ouch!
Read this extremely challenging article by the astute columnist Anne Applebaum and you will see why not only the Baltic states but the whole world will be concerned.
On this Remembrance Day, do revisit Anne Applebaum’s excellent thinking of the whole subject of remembering at a national level in the book she wrote on the Russian Gulag. Anne has also written a more recent book on President Putin’s rise to power.A great deal, in fact, will obviously depend on how Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin develops. He has often expressed a remarkable degree of admiration and support for him.
Pray for America’s relationships with both Russia and China. This latter alone will be a major challenge for him. Was he really serious in threatening a trade war with a country that owns much of the 68 cents in every dollar of the $10 trillion that makes up the American national debt? This will be as much a test for the Chinese leadership as for Trump.
Which brings us to the next important point: to pray for the appointments that Donald Trump makes, now that he enjoys complete Republican dominance in both houses, which will give him an unusually strong base from which to operate (for the first two years at any rate). Will he ‘take revenge’ on leading Republicans who refused to endorse his campaign – or will he appoint at least some of them in order to benefit from their experience? Will his many opponents in the Republican party act as a counterbalance to check his more extreme intentions?
Many around the whole world are feeling deeply concerned. The best hope is that Trump will prove a quick learner. Between now and taking office he will be sharing the same confidential briefings as are given to Obama – who is bending over backwards to facilitate a smooth and peaceful transition – at the very time when many Democrats (primarily those who are in their teens and twenties) are responding much as millions of thwarted Remainers did in Britain, moving beyond initial shock to demonstrating in the streets.
During the course of his campaign Trump showed a considerable willingness to flip flop and backtrack on a variety of policies. Will this man who is clearly an astute businessman but a political novice change his stance once he becomes better acquainted with the reality behind world events?
Like Obama, Trump has struck a welcome gracious and conciliatory note in these very early days. Will such an attitude survive once the pressures in office come thick and fast? Or will he resort to his narcissistic type? If he does not mean many of the more extreme things he has spoken of (a welcome thought) then he is likely to face an ugly backlash from his own supporters for having falsely raised their hopes. If he actually does mean them, of course, the outlook is really serious for a great many people.
The stakes are high and there is a lot to pray for – for our own Brexit-bound administration as well as for the Trump administration to come.