Who Do You Trust?

The $64,000 question this election cycle – who do you trust?  From most people I talk to, the answer is nobody.  They may have made up their minds about who they are going to vote for, but I haven’t talked with anyone who is really very happy about it.  Most of the people I talk with are casting their votes against someone, rather than for someone.  It isn’t so much that they like who they’re going to vote for, but they see them as the lesser of two evils.  Maybe not much less, but less enough.  What else are you going to do, after all?

The funny thing is that people act as if this is something new, as if this is the first election where we can’t really trust anyone.  They act as if in other elections, they knew who to trust.  It was clear who they could trust and they voted in that confidence.  To me, that’s a little scary.

Perhaps this election is God’s way of reminding us that we putting our trust in someone is a dangerous, dangerous business.  So dangerous, in fact, that we will always, always be disappointed.  They will always fail us.  Perhaps that will be in large, enormous, obvious ways.  Perhaps it will be in small, imperceptible and even undetectable ways.  But the reality is universal.  I can’t trust that person.  Is she fit for the job?  No.  Is he?  No.  Do I think one or the other will do their best as they see fit?  To some extent, at best.

But despite the fact that the other person does not deserve and cannot earn my trust in any absolute sense, I’m called upon to place my trust in other people all the time.  The person who designed the circuitry and software that run the traffic lights in my city.  The engineers who designed and built the car I hurtle down the freeway in at ludicrous speeds.  The people who packaged the food that I’m putting into my body.  The people who oversee the cleanliness of my water.  I have to trust these people, despite the fact that they don’t deserve it and can’t earn it.

Which should remind me of the precariousness of my life.  The amazing miracle it is that I’ve lived as many years as I have, and that I should have the audacity to expect to live another hour, let alone another span of decades.  It should remind me that I am here solely by the grace of God.  God who sometimes works through my fallible and untrustworthy neighbors, and always is working through his divine power to provide his creation with everything we need to thrive, if only we could trust one another – and be trustworthy ourselves – to apportion it properly.

So this election cycle is nothing new.  It is stark and glaring but rather than lead us simply to dismay and fear, I pray it leads us to awe and thanksgiving of our God who, despite our manifest failures, continues to love and sustain us through, with, and oftentimes despite our neighbors.  It is in God we trust, after all.  I think our currency still states that.  Perhaps it’s time we started taking that a bit more seriously.

And if that is the net result of this election cycle, then we might even (awkwardly) thank our unsuitable candidates.




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