It wasn’t so long ago that the truly faithful knew with certainty that Donald Trump was chosen by God to be president of The United States of America. They knew it, not because God had materialized at the base of the Washington Monument to publicly announce the appointment; they knew it via the usual human grapevine. For reasons most cryptic, God eschews public appearances and chooses to communicate the big stuff through special emissaries. Luckily for the less than special, the Lord chooses wisely and his certified go-betweens obligingly and unerringly put the news out for general consumption.
It’s not clear if his emissaries receive communications en masse or through individual visitations, but all those having preferential access seemed to simultaneously become those who knew: Trump was chosen by God. The truly faithful listened to the truly connected, and before long, all the righteous (Evangelicals and even some Catholics) knew that Donald Trump was their man. It may not have been clear (to the righteous and unrighteous alike) why God had picked such a (choose your own adjective) human being to do his bidding, but it was clear (to the righteous) that God had unleashed Donald Trump for a reason.
There was nothing terribly odd about the oddity. Through thousands of years of godly sanctioned war, pestilence, and governance, the faithful have come to know that the Lord does work in mysterious ways. As with previous “mysterious way” workings, Donald Trump would be just one more of God’s curiously chosen tools used to bless the faithful, punish the wayward, or both.
The Evangelical pronouncement was immediate: Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Stephen Strang, Wayne Allyn Root, Lance Wallnau and Jeremiah Johnson proclaimed Trump to be God’s mysterious tool. Franklin Graham said, “And I just have to think that God, in some reason, put him there for a purpose. I don’t know what that is, but we need to get behind him and support him.” Lance Wallnau was less nuanced in his conveyance of God’s will: “God sent Donald Trump to wage war against destructive spirits.”
Upon conveyance of God’s tool choice through his wisely chosen go-betweens, it didn’t take long for Trump’s political appointees to join in and harmoniously sing back-up. Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Pence quickly alluded to Trump’s presidency as an expression of God’s will. And why shouldn’t they have? If Donald Trump was chosen by God, then they too, were obviously a further expression of God’s purpose. In a secondary way, they were divinely chosen; all would faithfully work together expediting God’s plan rather than selfishly furthering their own political ambitions.
But then something strange, unexpected, and perhaps again mysterious happened: Trump lost his presidential bid for reelection. Or did he? Did he really lose, or had the forces of evil disrupted God’s plan? Is that even possible? Donald Trump’s protest aside, it must be remembered that God is all-powerful, even more powerful than the Deep State, so Trump’s apparent loss must also be part of God’s complicated design. Perhaps all is not then as it might appear. Was Trump actually abandoned by God, or was the loss simply a test of fortitude for him and the faithful? Is it now really over for them, or are Trump and the children of Mara-a-Lago temporarily wandering in the desert before finally entering the promised land of milk and honey? Stay tuned; it’s not over till it’s over.
As the children wander to and fro in the wilderness, contingency plans have popped up in anticipation of the mysterious way of mysterious ways. Some of God’s envoys (but apparently not all) seem to have received updates. Charlie Shamp was blessed with a vision from God that foretells Ron DeSantis (the palm tree of Florida) becoming president of The United States. While not explicitly disavowing their endorsement for Donald Trump, eighteen Christian leaders of the South Carolina coalition have rallied in support of DeSantis. It’s not just religious leaders that appear to be hedging their bets. Some of the faithful politicians who praised God’s early advocacy of Trump have piously stepped forward to offer themselves as willing alternatives should God’s mysterious plan bend in that direction. Ron DeSantis, of course, but also Nikki Haley and Mike Pence were among the humble volunteers (though Pence has of late received notice that his service in that capacity will not be required).
While a few have sighted off-ramps in the event of Trump’s election vehicle hurtling out of control, none of the go-betweens that announced God’s early endorsement of Trump have stepped forward with a new message that clearly revokes it. Obviously then, Donald Trump is still an integral part of God’s plan (polls indicate he’s featured front and center). If the faithful persevere and he again becomes president, it will be with God’s blessing. The faithful will righteously know that whatever transpires (such as retribution and autocracy) will be according to God’s plan, even if beyond human compassion or understanding.
So much is unwinding before us: the election and the revelation of God’s next choice to be president of the United States is hardly a year away and it all seems so unsettled and potentially calamitous. And what lies beyond all that? Could 2024 be little more than a distraction from God’s long range political workings? While near sighted mortals are obsessed with the politics of 2024, might God already be orchestrating 2028 plans?
There’s a new kid on the block, and he’s even more confident of God’s endorsement than was Donald Trump. Whereas Trump humbly conceded that he may have been chosen by God, Mike Johnson absolutely knows that God has his back. Granted, he was merely chosen to be Speaker of the House (thus far), but he is already third in line to assume the presidency should the need arise, and his star is just beginning to ascend. So, is Mike the start of something really big? With all of his ungodly baggage, Donald Trump was clearly a mysteriously chosen president (perhaps twice chosen). There is no unsightly “mysterious way” baggage hovering over Mike Johnson; he comes toting just a carry-on pack that’s marked “GODLY” in capital letters. He carries no ungodliness for the wayward to pick at. With Mike, there will be no “mysterious way” explanation required to make sense of God’s choice.
“God raises up those in authority,” Mike Johnson noted to his fellow lawmakers. Expanding further, he added that, “God has allowed and ordained each and every one of us to be here at this specific moment.” Clearly then, Mike and at least a few other elected officials have been chosen by God to guide America along its righteous path. This time however, God appears to have bypassed the usual emissary protocol in making his wishes known. Mike Johnson was allowed to step forward without preannouncement and personally reveal the Lord’s hand in making him Speaker of the House. Was it meant as a show of confidence? Was the direct communication a sign of God’s complete advocacy of Mike, not just for the present, but perhaps as a portent of things to come? Is there a luminous angel holding a flashing 2028 sign hovering nearby?
For sure, there will be wayward skeptics reluctant to acknowledge God’s hand in Mike’s acquisition of authority, but some prudence might be advisable even for the truly faithful. There have been a few times in the past when God’s name was invoked towards dubious causes. Okay, maybe more than just a few times; here are some of those invocations worth considering:
For much of the 19th century, “those in authority whom God had raised up” cited God’s “Manifest Destiny” for the United States as it expanded westward. In what can be recognized as genocide today, “Manifest Destiny” excused the murder and relocation of America’s original inhabitants as the implementation of God’s will. It also gave license to U.S. ambitions in the Mexican-American War.
Long before Ron DeSantis’s recent declaration that the institution of slavery wasn’t all that bad, earlier proponents of slavery cited the Bible and God’s will for its justification. More important than the learning of valuable trades mentioned by Ron (such as picking cotton and emptying chamber pots), Christian authorities pointed out the altruistic benevolence of rescuing Africans from heathen lands and bringing them to America where their souls might be saved.
Through most of the latter half of the 20th century, Billy Graham (America’s Pastor) consorted with those in authority whom God had raised up. He advised 13 presidents, and not just in spiritual matters. In 1969 Graham asserted that Richard Nixon was God’s choice, and as a man of God himself, even counseled Nixon on military matters (such as bombing the dikes in North Vietnam).
George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States was obviously another whom God had raised up to a position of power. He cited Biblical prophecy in trying to garner French support for war with Iraq. A few months after the war began in 2003, the “burning Bush” told a Palestinian delegation, “I am driven with a mission from God.” Today, long after his departure, Afghanistan is in turmoil, Iraq is unsettled, and much of the Middle East is still aflame. Millions have died in unending conflict. In the current quagmire, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders repetitively cite God and holy prophecy to condone the killing one another.
It seems that when God raises up those in authority, he does work in mysterious ways. Or, do Mike Johnson and those who speak for God have it backwards? Is it God who raises up those in authority, or is it those in authority who raise up God?
God, held aloft, is the great enabler. In claiming the will of God, all of man’s endeavors can be justified. The Bible assures us that with God, all things are possible (Mathew 19:26). History shows us that with God held aloft, all things are permissible.
If we deem it necessary to claim God’s approval when fomenting war and terror, does it mean that without it, some of the carnage we wreak upon one another could be avoided? When we have the need to avow divine justification for our endeavors, doesn’t it indicate that our ambitions are knowingly suspect? We do what we want to do and put the onus on God for what transpires. “To the glory of God,” is a deflection of guilt. When we assert that our leaders are chosen by God, we give them and ourselves license. It’s a pretentious permit that allows us to do what we know shouldn’t be done.