I’m disappointed. There are no better words to describe my feelings as I sit here and type on Nov. 11, 2020. As I take in a beautiful fall day in which God has blessed us with warmer than usual weather and ponder the news that we might actually have a coronavirus vaccine coming, I simply cannot enjoy it.
See, this morning as I dropped my last kiddo off at daycare, I received a phone call from my wife crying. All she could mutter was, “The police just left our house!”
Now my mind went to many things: Did our alarm go off by accident? Was there a police chase that ended at my address? What could it be?
Well, the news was that every person with a Biden/Harris sign in my neighborhood had their tires slashed the night before, and the officers wanted to know if we saw anything. Now, I’m no fan of any type of yard sign promoting politics, so you would never find one in our yard, but the idea that a sign warranted that level of response is insane.
But then I remembered: This is America and this is 2020.
I’m disappointed that my neighborhood in the heart of Louisville, filled with Democrats, Republicans, immigrants, minorities, white families, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and more awoke to police interviews because some person misplaced their hope. Someone was so angry that they felt they had the right to destroy someone else’s property.
I’m disappointed that over the past week, I’ve had relatives, loved ones, church friends and people I know all get caught in the fray. One loved one spent Saturday getting drunk in celebration over the election results not realizing their bitterness is just being expressed in a new way, while another church friend spent their time posting Bible verses on social media to condemn our soon-to-be president, all while forgetting their responsibility for Christian witness in times of perceived difficulty.
I’m disappointed in all the conversations I had to endure leading up to this reality in which many people who love Jesus misplaced their hope in whichever ideology made the most sense for them and abandoned what makes the church most powerful, our unity despite our differences.
I’m disappointed in all the sleepless nights I’ve heard about and all the families divided and divorces pending all because of misplaced hope. I’m disappointed in the lost friendships and forsaken bonds. I’m disappointed in seemingly lost progress toward unity and the non-existence of nuanced conversation. I’m disappointed, but then I remember: This is America and this is 2020.
Whether you are disappointed like me or you are guilty of being a part of the problem, the solution is the same for us all and it starts with a question: Where are you placing your hope?
Honestly, my disappointment has a lot more to do with that question than the actions of people. Because I have chosen to place my hope in the good of people rather than the goodness of God, I find myself dejected.
The reality is that throughout human history, people have been retaliators and agitators. Families have been torn apart because of sin. People have celebrated their Caesar and condemned someone else’s Pharaoh.
And throughout that same history, God’s people have struggled to give Him their unadulterated devotion and trust. We have acted like Gomer more times than we want to admit, and 2020 is no different.
Yet in the midst of that, we remember that Gomer had a husband. We remember that Israel had a deliverer. We remember that God made family, therefore he can restore family. We remember that God called the church, therefore He can reshape and remold the church. We remember, no matter how much we like our neighborhood, our politics, our lifestyle and everything in between, they pale in comparison to heaven.
So, may we be willing to return our hope to its rightful home in Christ. May we be willing to untangle our Christian identity with our worldly ideologies and grab hold to “on earth as it is in Heaven” because there, Jesus is the center of our world and the object of our affections. He is our eternal light and constant salvation. He is our life, and in Him there is no disappointment.
2020 has been a disappointing year, but it also has pointed out so clear for me that more than ever I must put my hope in Jesus. Nothing else will ever compare.
Terrence Turman is associate pastor for Southeast’s City Region.