Written By Chris Wale, UK
On 12 December, the UK headed to the polls for its general election, with the Conservative party securing 365 out of 650 seats in the parliament, giving Boris Johnson and his government the mandate to “get Brexit done”.
You may or may not have heard about Britain’s exit (hence, “Brexit”) from the European Union (EU). But it’s like most divorces: messy, complicated, and no one knows what it will look like after we finally separate.
Social media feeds have been full of horror stories predicting what will happen when we leave the EU: there’ll be no medicines available; everything is going to get more expensive; the only food in supermarkets will be in tins; there’s going to be job loss and high unemployment rates . . . While it’s unlikely that all these extremes will come true, there will be big changes. One expert’s opinion was simply, “The only certainty is uncertainty.” It’s leaving many of us in the UK feeling stressed and fearful.
So my question is: When things around us are uncertain and unsettling (whether nationally or in our own communities or lives), how do we, as Christians, avoid becoming just as overwhelmed as everyone else?
Know Who Is Truly in Control
Working as an editor for Our Daily Bread Ministries, I often get to read emails and letters from our readers. One of them recently sent this timely reminder: “I just wanted to write you a note of encouragement. As a minister myself, I know this . . . as a paraplegic, I know this: Though life is full of challenges, remember this one truth, and don’t let go of it—God is faithful. He has this world in His hands!”
Even in uncertain times, the Bible affirms that “the plans of the LORD stand firm forever” (Psalm 33:11). The Almighty God who “laid the earth’s foundation” (Job 38:4) can “loosen Orion’s belt” (Job 38:31) and “send the lightning bolts on their way” (Job 38:35). These were just some of the many truths which God reminded Job of during his own desperate season.
There are no specifics about how Brexit will turn out. God does not always answer our questions about what we should do or what’s going to happen next. But He does assure us that this world is still His, held together by His unshakable Word. He is with us for every step we take on our journey through life. Nothing can derail His plans. Nothing can usurp His rule. Nothing takes Him by surprise. And nothing can separate us from Him and His promises to us (John 10:27-29, Romans 8:38-39)!
Job’s response to God’s awesomeness was simply, “I know you can do all things” (Job 42:2). That can be our assurance as well. Rather than saying, “The only certainty is uncertainty,” we can say, “The only certainty is God’s life-changing Word, which ‘endures forever’” (1 Peter 1:25). Even in anxious times, God is still King, and so we can still be confident in Him.
Know Our True Citizenship
A truth that has really hit home for me during this unsettled time in the UK is the key message Paul taught in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven”.
This is a huge truth to unpack. But one thing it means is that even though I am a British citizen, I don’t need to despair that Britain’s future is uncertain. First and foremost, I am a citizen of heaven. I belong to God’s kingdom, not the kingdom of this world. My heavenly home is never affected, disrupted, or in doubt, no matter how troubled my circumstances on earth may be.
While living in such a shakeable kingdom, it is good to know God’s kingdom, my true home where my true citizenship is found, “is a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).
Being Good Citizens
It could sound like I’m taking an escapist approach to Brexit: “Don’t worry about what happens to this world, just keep heading to heaven!” That’s not my intention, and neither is it what the Bible teaches. Actually, we become better citizens on earth when we live first and foremost as citizens of heaven.
Knowing we belong to the one and only King, who remains in control of every nation and circumstance, we can be people who pray about the trials and issues we are faced with. When it comes to Brexit and the results of the recent general election, Paul reminds me, “the one in authority is God’s servant,” even if they’re not who I voted for (Romans 13:4). Even if the appointment doesn’t make sense to me. My confidence in God can remain intact and I can pray “for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2), knowing God put them there for His purposes.
An older Christian in my church said recently, “We’ve seen this kind of uncertainty before. We’ll see it again.” Her point was that we live in a changing, unsettling world. But as people who belong to the eternal kingdom, we can share our confidence in Jesus, and the eternal citizenship He gives, to those around us who are frightened and anxious. We can show the people who are consumed by this world’s uncertainty the “better country” we belong to (Hebrews 11:16).
My prayer is that Christians in the UK will stand out during the on-going Brexit journey. Not for their political views or opinions, but because they continue to have unshakable hope and confidence in the King who has made them His own special people.