In one of the most stunning victories in the history of Western democracy, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. It was a triumph that few predicted—especially the pollsters and media.
Trump won 30 states, aided by a significant bloc of evangelical support at the polls. In watching the news after the election, the media kept asking “How did this happen?” “What went wrong?” “How did we miss this?” Some were in shock. Political pundits were stunned. Many thought the Trump-Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. Few of them understood the God factor—that hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the U.S. had been praying.
Throughout 2016 believers came out to every state capitol for our Decision America Tour to pray for this election and for the future of America. The tour was never about getting candidates elected or promoting any party’s platform—it was about getting Christians to pray, asking God to move; knowing that His will is perfect. As a result, prayer groups were started. Families prayed. Churches prayed. Then Christians went to the polls, and God showed up.
While the media scratched their heads and tried to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s sovereign hand worked mightily on election night to help stop the godless, atheistic, progressive agenda from continuing its moral assault on our nation.
Immediately following the election, I congratulated Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence and let them know that we would be praying for them in the challenging days to come.
When Donald Trump places his hand on the Bible on Jan. 20 and pledges to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he will face an extensive array of economic and social issues that confront our nation.
Our economy is deeply distressed. Affordable health care is a huge issue. Drug addiction has become virtually an epidemic in cities and towns, rural and urban, across America. Violence in our streets, even in our schools, is on the rise. Islamic terrorism is still a menace, not only in the Middle East but here on our own shores.
No issue, however, is more urgent than nominating a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart on the nation’s highest court for 30 years. Scalia was a man of deep faith, and I certainly hope that his seat—and any future seats that become vacant during Trump’s term—will be filled by people with a high regard for the Constitution, drafted in 1787 by our Founding Fathers, many of whom had a deep reverence for God.
Trump has already submitted a lengthy list of very well qualified, conservative judges, all of whom I believe would serve in the tradition of Scalia. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), who won reelection, made it clear before the election that the goal of having a Democratic majority in Congress was to place progressive candidates on the nation’s highest bench. “My No. 1 goal, should I become the majority leader … is to get a progressive on the Supreme Court. A progressive majority is an imperative. … I will make it happen,” Schumer said at a September meeting hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton. A progressive justice is just another name for someone with a liberal, godless worldview who is a constitutional reconstructionist.
Thank God that did not happen! Justices nominated by President-elect Trump and confirmed by the Senate will help shape the direction of our nation for decades to come, for our children and our grandchildren.
Our religious freedoms have been under severe, unrelenting attack by the courts, the current administration and a coalition of progressive activists who have worked hard to silence the Christian ethic and voice by any means possible.
Bakers and florists, photographers and innkeepers, fire chiefs and county clerks who have stood by their strongly held religious convictions have been doggedly pursued and prosecuted simply for refusing to compromise their faith.
That’s one of the reasons we began the Decision America Tour this past year, beginning on a bitterly cold January day in Iowa and ending in October in Raleigh, N.C. Knowing that our nation is in such deep trouble, we encouraged Christians to pray, vote and engage in the political process. More than 236,000 people stood on capitol grounds and steps, confessing our sins and asking God to bring healing to our nation.
I know God hears and answers the prayers of His people, and I believe that He has given this nation a window of opportunity to turn from our wicked ways, turn our hearts back to Him and use our freedoms for His glory. The spiritual state of our union is in tatters because we have turned our back on God, and the consequences are enormous.
But the Bible says that a merciful God can forgive, heal and restore repentant hearts: “To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.
“For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake” (Daniel 9:8-9, 18-19, ESV).
We must make prayer and repentance a priority if we want to see God’s hand of blessing upon our land. We must pray for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, that they will have godly wisdom and courage. Pray that they will surround themselves with competent, godly men and women who will provide wise counsel. Pray that executive orders requiring public schools to allow restroom access based on gender identity will be quickly overridden by the new administration. Pray that the godless, progressive agenda will be thwarted and defeated.
However, as I have said repeatedly during this past year, my hope is in Almighty God, not in any candidate or political party. He is a living, triumphant, sovereign God who works all things together for good to those who love Him—His counsel and purpose will ultimately prevail. One day when Christ returns—and I pray it will be soon—the Bible says that the entire earth will be “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14, ESV).
But until then, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ must not sit idly by. Instead we must be Gospel salt and light in our schools, businesses and town halls. The message of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone can save and transform people, communities and nations.
In the Book of Revelation, as God’s judgment and wrath fell in increasing severity upon the world, the response was incredibly defiant, with mankind cursing God and refusing to repent and give Him glory (see Revelation 16:9).
My prayer and hope is that the Lord will be merciful to us in the days to come and grant us repentant hearts so that our land may once again be one nation under God.