A few days ago I found myself ambling through a parking lot in Chicago when I saw a version of this sign on someone’s bumper. The only difference was that the sticker I spotted had a politician’s name slapped below the slogan. “Got hope? Elect So-and-So.”
It struck me. Putting aside the individual mentioned, the creativity of the campaign director, and the obvious borrowing of Milk’s national advertisements still left me with eyebrows raised. Place our hope in an elected human? Boy. That sounds like a recipe for disappointment if you ask me.
My mind flew to the countless verses I know from Scripture that talk about hope and where to find it.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
It’s easy to allow our eyes to settle on the figure of a human, to place hope and trust in his or her ability to better a community or nation. Still, it’s so reminiscent of the golden calf in Exodus. Of the nation of Israel demanding a king countless times throughout the Old Testament. Of King Saul not trusting in God and instead visiting the witch of Endor.
Perhaps today we aren’t building golden calves in a desert, but we are constructing homes and accumulating wealth in such a way that can easily misplace our hope.
We aren’t demanding a king to rule over us, but we are empassioned over the prospect of “the perfect candidate.”
We’re not visiting Endor, but somehow that Psychic hotline stays in business.
God calls us to place our trust in him: for unfailing love, for strength, for our very lives.
Hope resides in Christ—not in a bumper sticker, and certainly not at a the polls.
What about you? Are you tempted to hope in politics as election season ramps up?