People are hurting. People are mourning.
On Bethel’s campus, students of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community are all expressing feelings of fear, because America has just elected President Donald Trump. If you feel unaffected by all of this, please acknowledge that other people are, and ask yourself why you are not.
Walking by people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and “Trump/Pence” shirts makes me feel unsafe on my own campus. Men and boys now have a president that contributes to rape culture explicitly. As a woman who has experienced waking up on a bus to a man’s hand feeling me up, I FEEL UNSAFE because our president now perpetuates rape culture by saying things such as “grab ’em by the pussy.”
You know what doesn’t help people who feel unsafe right now, who are afraid? Telling them that God is in control.
Let me ask you something, fellow believers: was that the response Jesus gave to people who were mourning? Or did Jesus weep with those who were weeping, mourn with those who were mourning? Jesus never denied someone’s feelings or their experiences.
Let me clarify: this does not mean God is not all-powerful, I am not denying that. But saying “God is in control” or “Just trust in Jesus” is not helpful or comforting because it implies that God made this happen. It implies that God controlled people and made people vote for Trump because “God works in mysterious ways.” But this completely denies that God gave us the free will to choose, which is why evil exists in humans. And if you think you are not implying this when you say these simple statements, please choose to think about the implications of your words.
God did not cause this, humans caused this, just like humans allowed the rise of Nazism and elected Hitler as their chancellor in 1933. If you think that is extreme, I was recently at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and was very disturbed at how eerily similar statements made by Trump were to statements made by Hitler.
For Hitler, the master speech maker, the long awaited opportunity to let loose his talents on the German people had arrived. He would find in this downtrodden people, an audience very willing to listen. In his speeches, Hitler offered the Germans what they needed most, encouragement. He gave them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details. He used simple catchphrases, repeated over and over.
Hitler offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of German glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make Germany strong again; end payment of war reparations to the Allies; tear up the treaty of Versailles; stamp out corruption; keep down Marxism; and deal harshly with the Jews.
(If you’re interested, read more here.)
People caused this, not God. This is a result of the fall of humans.
My feelings of worry and fear are valid, and I can invite God into that, but to tell me not to fell what I’m feeling is denial and not something Jesus would do.
When you say “God is in control,” that is not comforting. When you tell me to keep my eyes on God, I’ll tell you that if your eyes are on God, you’d see that God’s heart is breaking right now and mourning with those who are mourning.