What David Benham Heard the Holy Spirit Say During His Meeting With Donald Trump
We met with Trump yesterday. This is what I woke up thinking. I've kept it raw and unpolished, so pardon some of my disconnecting thoughts.
We brought our dad and my oldest son to the meeting in New York City. We were like a microcosm of the greater culture, from Millennial to X'er through Boomer.
As we debriefed at the airport on the way home, my dad said God could use Trump to shake up America. My son said Trump was fake and dodged the tough questions. But something wasn't sitting right in my spirit, and I couldn't really put a finger on it ... until this morning.
The church's identity rests not as a voting block but as a voice for truth—"the pillar and foundation" of it, actually (1 Tim. 3:15). In the early years of the Moral Majority, Christians chose to elect only leaders with a biblical worldview and good character. While this is noble and helped elect many godly leaders, I believe it has become an identity in the evangelical community over the years. Today, it seems the main thrust of the evangelical voice surfaces primarily during election season. So we try to gather in unity around the most electable leaders, like Donald Trump, who simply pander to us to get our vote.
Voting is vitally important—I get it. As a citizen of heaven I am commanded by God to be a good citizen on earth (Golden Rule, salt and light, give to Caesar, and so on), so voting is my duty as an American—but it's not my identity as a Christian. Whether Hillary or Trump is in the White House, my mission remains the same. I am an ambassador of Christ transforming the culture around me through the life-changing power of Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17-20). I should be God's agent of change, bringing lives, marriages, families and culture back to God's best for human flourishing. If the checkbook is out of balance it simply needs to be reconciled, which is where culture is today.
In light of this, the Christian's first instinct should be to listen to the Spirit, not look for a strategy. While the Holy Spirit often gives good strategy, sometimes what He speaks doesn't seem strategic at all. Think of Jeremiah's message to Israel against an alliance with Egypt to protect them from war and famine (Jer. 42). Consider Noah's call to build an ark ... when no one had even heard of rain before (Heb. 11:7). Remember Christ—our King—was born in a feeding trough and killed on a wooden tree. Do we see as God sees? It takes spiritual eyes, not strategic ideas.
For decades the evangelical community has strategized to the hilt to affect culture through elections. Yet, in my opinion, we've missed what the Spirit has been trying to say for quite some time. Again, I'm all for working hard in elections, but I believe the Spirit is speaking and we should listen. So while sitting in the Trump meeting I bowed my head and quietly prayed, "Lord, what are you saying here? What do you want to hear from us?"