How should a Christian respond to the government shutdown?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

We are now 2.5 days into the 2013 government shutdown. For me, other than the constant news coverage, I have not noticed. I am not worried. I am perhaps a little concerned for a few friends who depend on a government paycheck. I feel for those who depend on government services who can temporarily no longer access those services. But, again, I am not worried. God is in control.

I agree with the Republicans that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), without major improvements and changes, is going to be a complete disaster. But, I do not see the point of trying to get the Democrats in Congress and President Obama to defund, delay, or revise the ACA now when they have made it abundantly clear they are not willing to do so. If the ACA is so terrible, let it be implemented so that its awfulness and ridiculousness can be revealed for all to see. Let's not hurt the economy and punish those who depend on government services to preemptively block a program that will, likely, collapse on its own.

I understand that the ACA was passed without a single vote from the Republicans. I understand that the Democrats in the Senate were only able to pass it due to parliamentary maneuvers. I understand that it narrowly passed the Supreme Court after one justice apparently changed his mind at the last second. But, these things do not change the fact that the ACA is the law of the land. If it proves itself to be unworkable, hopefully "we the people" will rise up and elect new representatives, senators, and a president who will change it. That is how things are supposed to work.

We elected these people. We have to live with the consequences. So, while I agree with the Republicans in their opposition to the ACA, I do not believe a government shutdown is the solution. But, perhaps the government shutdown is God's desire. Perhaps He will bring something good from it. That is my hope and prayer, but I cannot say it is my confident expectation.

The spiritual aspect of this question is simple trust God.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:25-34)
Trusting God is not the vague happy-go-lucky message of the 1980's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" song. Rather, it is a confidence that God is in control. It is an assuredness that while you don't know what the future holds, you know Who holds the future. It is the unwavering faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who stood firm despite the law of the land dictating that they be thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3).

As Christians, we are to submit to the government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17), even when our governmental representatives are acting like children. In the USA political system, we can vote, petition, protest, advocate, inform, promote, etc., etc. All that is fine and good. But whether it is in response to what we believe to be a terrible law or a likely pointless government shutdown, what we can never neglect is trusting the God who is above, beyond, and it control of it all.

So, no, I am not worried about the government shutdown. A better question might be: am I worried about what is going to happen when the government is back up? I will strive to make that answer "no" as well.

Photo credit: verbeeldingskr8; some rights reserved

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Published 10-3-13