Regardless of the level that they are at, leaders are a divisive lot. Some love them, some hate them, and you will never ever have a unanimous decision either way. Yet from the school yard to the boardroom, leaders are emplaced everywhere. Some are born into it, some crave and battle for it; and some are thrust into it without really wanting to be there in the first place.

But whatever the case, we have leaders and we have to deal with them. So how do we deal with them? For this, we are given two principles for action; submit to them and pray for them.

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2

More than merely being a call to adopt a moderate stance toward religious radicalism, there is much sense to submission when we start to see things from God’s perspective; and it all begins with understanding this.

““For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”” Isaiah 55:8-9

God’s has got it all under control; even leadership. That is why Solomon said,

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

And leaders are but tools to ensure that His purpose for the season is fulfilled.

Now, granted this is much easier to accept for good leaders than for bad. And I don’t profess to know why bad leaders are installed. But when we look back at every era of leadership, even the bad leaders gave us lessons that we can learn from, shown us mistakes we will never want to repeat.

So if we believe God when He says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

Then we can trust that good or bad, leaders have their purpose to serve; and because they were emplaced by God to carry out the ordinance of God, they ultimately can’t hurt you, even if they tried.

And you know what? The truth is, our problem with leaders is often merely one of perception.

Perhaps he is the son of a former leader with a reputation, so we expect bad decisions from him, just like his father. Or he belongs to a party with a set agenda so we expect him to implement policies that forward those narrow agendas. Or he was misquoted and that led to an erroneous perception that he has leanings toward and is biased against certain groups. While I am not saying that bad leaders do not exist, the truth is, for the bulk of the time, our problems with leaders lie in merely our perception of them. And wouldn’t we feel silly when we are proven wrong?

Take Israel for example. When they had just left Egypt, Pharaoh changed his mind about letting them go and started to give chase. Now when they were stuck at the Red Sea, the people got understandably anxious for their safety.

“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”” Numbers 14:1-4

Suppose they had?

But what if you are really facing a bad leader? What if your leader is really running your country or company into the ground and is doing the people in? How should we respond?

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3 [MSG]

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Our leaders are not gods. They can make mistakes. Who doesn’t? They need our Father as much as, or even more than, we do. But that doesn’t mean that our Father cannot use them to fulfill His purpose. For remember what He said to Pharaoh through Moses?

“But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

Good or bad, that man has got a God-sanctioned mission to accomplish, His purpose to fulfill; so who are we to stand in the way of our Father’s purpose?

Furthermore, what good are protests and demonstrations? What good is bringing the entire economy to a standstill and jeopardizing your very own livelihood and living environment? Wouldn’t it be better for us to leave it all to The One who can really do something about it?

You know, the reason why we get afraid of bad leadership is because we think that they can somehow harm us. Sure, they may make things a little inconvenient and uncomfortable from time to time, but we should always remember that

“…there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1

And because God knows ““the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

No real harm can ever come to us.

So let us instead pray for our leaders, that despite their shortcomings, they may be used effectively to speedily bring about our Father’s purpose for their appointment.

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