This week I had an interesting conversation with a business contact, a conservative Republican who also happens to be Jewish. He told me that he has been “depressed ever since Election Day” – a sentiment likely shared, if not spelled out, by a large number of Americans whose candidate didn’t win.
The modern Jewish faith, as my friend practices it, is a moralistic but largely earthbound religion that tells you to do right because it’s right – not for any guaranteed temporal reward, and certainly not for any specific eternal benefit. Jews in general don’t seem to have a clear belief about the afterlife, if they affirm such a concept at all. If you lose the battle in the visible realm, you’ve lost the real and only battle, for today at least and perhaps for your generation.
While I did follow and vote in the US presidential election of 2020, and would have preferred a different outcome (starting with different candidates on the ballot), I was able to share with my Jewish friend that I haven’t been suffering from depression since the morning of November 4th.
The name of this blog, Passing Pilgrim, is a reminder to me of a simple but central belief Christians hold – one that separates us from Jews, many other religions, and irreligious people in general: this world is not our home (Heb. 11:13).
If I’m a missionary in a foreign country (I’m not), and things are going a bad direction with that country’s politics, I may be very concerned. I might even get involved, should the opportunity arise, to try and promote a more just and stable environment. If I live there, what happens there affects me. Thus, it’s natural and right that I should care (Jer. 29:7).
However, consider my much deeper care for the society back in my home country. That’s the place I come from; the place in which my friends and loved ones live; the stable base I count on for my support; the home I love and hope to return to when my work overseas is done.
It will always be my home country, and not the land where I live, that has my heart. As long as things are okay there and I know I can return one day, I can cope with whatever happens here.
Most people in America, including my family, live lives of historically-unprecedented comfort, security, and control. Maybe it’s a good thing for us to experience some discomfort, uncertainty, and a sense that the wrong side might be winning. Then we remember our heavenly citizenship – not just a comfort when things go wrong, but also the greater joy that keeps us eternally-minded when things go right.