Recent events from England to Malaysia have proven yet again the limitations of human leaders and human governments. They serve to remind us that any desire for a perfect leader and a perfect government must await the second coming of Christ and the ushering in of the new heavens and the new earth. But until that day, what do we do when we are faced with an election like the one coming up in Malaysia?

I understand many of us are tired and wondering if coming out to vote will actually make a difference. Many of us went all out in the 14th General Election and, to our surprise, managed to vote out a coalition that had become increasingly racist and corrupt. We were bitterly disappointed when the Sheraton move unseated a government that had been legally voted in. It would be unfair to say that nothing good came out of the last election, though. It is still a wonder that Najib Rajak has been found guilty by three courts and has been sentenced to prison. Perhaps the fact that that happened has spooked some leaders to the degree that they have cynically pushed for a General Election during the monsoon period which has been marked by destructive floods in recent years.

As a Malaysian Christian why should I come out to vote? Does it really make a difference? My answer to this question looks at what God’s responsibility is and what mine is.

It is God’s responsibility to guide the flow of human history.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

    wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

    he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.”

(Daniel 2:20b–21 NIV)

Will the upcoming general election result in a government that moves us further from racism, corruption, and incompetence? I hope so. But I don’t know. God willing. Whatever happens, I must believe that God is on His throne and is working out His purposes in history. Whatever happens I will not be shaken. If I truly believe that God is all-wise and all-powerful, I must choose to trust in Him irrespective of what happens. To do otherwise is to dishonour Him.

But what is my responsibility? Created in God’s image God chose us to be His agents in the world. God doesn’t need us, but He loves us and allows us to partner Him in His work. He is the senior partner of course, but our participation in His work is not nonsense. Which is why I encourage all my brothers and sisters in Malaysia to go out and vote. God is at work but if my vote can do its bit in moving Malaysia away from racism and corruption even a little, I will do it. Will it result in a change of Government like the previous election? God knows. Like so much we do in the name of the Lord, our call is to be faithful. It is His job to sort out history.

Followers of Jesus are called to vote but that is not the only thing we are called to do. We are called to pray, and to engage the principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12). Prayer is the ultimate expression of faith. When we pray we show that we believe there is a God who is sovereign and who cares for justice and who answers the prayers of His people. When we pray it reveals our faith because, maddeningly, He chooses how and when to answer our prayers (Daniel 9:20–23). It is easy to be so caught up in political activism that we do not work on our knees.

We are also called to share the gospel. Can we change political systems without a change of hearts of the people who are in the system? Until hearts of stone are changed to hearts of flesh it is hard to see critical and final change. And perhaps that has to wait till Christ returns (Philippians 2:9–11).

So I pray. I share the gospel. But I shall also vote. Arise dear friends. Once more into the breech. Change may come only in our children’s time. But let us be faithful in our time to help our children be faithful in theirs by our legacy and our example.



Photo: AdobeStock_200871064