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Brexit – A Disaster or an Opportunity?

Brexit – A Disaster or an Opportunity?

 

With the unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum reverberating around the globe, uncertainty seems to be reigning supreme – and not just in the United Kingdom and Europe. And the truth is that most people don’t cope well at all well with that. But therein lies an enormous opportunity. Here’s why:

 

Has the World Gone Mad?

When I was a lad, my father kept chickens in the backyard. It was a special treat indeed when he would kill one so that we could have roast chicken for Sunday lunch. So, not surprisingly, one of the enduring memories of my childhood is seeing a headless chicken – freshly executed by dear old dad – running around the backyard flapping its wings.

Who could forget that?

And honestly, the world’s reaction to the Brexit decision reminds me powerfully of that headless chook. Uncertainty has a way of getting us to panic irrationally, running around in ever decreasing circles.

Of course, the media thrives on this sort of stuff.  The more it can beat a story up, the more dire scenarios it can paint in our minds … the more papers it will sell; the higher the ratings will be; the more they can charge for their advertising space. News editors around the world are revelling in the present field of uncertainty as they see the pounds, the dollars, the rupees and the pesos rolling in.

And to be sure, there are a good many imponderables.

  • Will the United Kingdom fall apart as Northern Ireland and Scotland reconsider their positions?
  • Will the European Union itself start to disintegrate? 
  • What will all that do to the value of the pound longer term? To the cost of basic household necessities? To the lives of ordinary working men and women struggling to eek out an existence?
  • What will this mean for the economies of Europe? For the global economy?
  • How will this all change the balance of power between East and West?  

… just to name a few of the questions unsettling people and markets around the globe.

Such fertile ground for scare-mongering, don’t you think? No wonder people are worried.

Let’s face it, which of us likes uncertainty? Generally what we tend to do, is that we imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong in answer to each of those questions … and then, somehow in our minds, we imagine that they’ll all go wrong to the maximum possible extent, at the same time.

Perhaps Chicken Little was right. Perhaps the sky is about to fall in.

 

So Let’s Just Get a Firm Grip on Reality

The historical truth is that alliances, countries, borders … have always changed over time. The Roman Empire is a thing of the past. So is Nazi Germany. So, by the way, is the British Empire – remembering that at one stage, England had pretty much colonised half of the globe.

Things change. They always have … they always will, until the Lord returns. We just happen to be in the middle of one of those times of change.

And, putting things into perspective, thank God that the UK isn’t going through what the former Yugoslavia had to go through, to achieve its change, amen?!

So, here’s the reality. In three years time – Scotland will be in pretty much the same place as it’s always been – whether or not it’s a part of the UK. And although possible, it’s fairly unlikely that there’ll be a modern-day Hadrian’s Wall built to separate the two.

The same with England, the two Irelands (separated or united) and Wales.

The English people will be the resilient we will fight them on the beaches people that they’ve always been. Or do we really expect the Poms (as a convict from the colonies I use that term with great affection) to stop singing “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule Britannia” on the last night of the Proms? Really?!!

Will things be different? Of course they will. No doubt some things will be slightly better, while other things will be slightly worse. But then there’s nothing new in any of that. As I said, historically speaking, allegiances and boundaries, kingdoms and dominions, have been in a constant state of flux for pretty much as long as human beings have walked the earth.

And right now, in the middle of the mayhem and the hysteria, I think that there exists a serious opportunity for the men and women of God to witness something of His love and His power into their community – particularly, might I say, in the UK and across Europe.

Here’s how:

 

The Opportunity in the Midst of the Mayhem

The one thing for certain is that God hasn’t fallen off His twig as a result of Brexit.

I know that if you’re living in one of the economically depressed parts in the North of England, or hanging onto a job for dear life in Scotland, or trying to manage on a pension in Northern Ireland, man this whole Brexit thing is something that you need like a hole in the head right now.

I get that.

But have a listen to the prayer that Daniel prayed, as God gave him the wisdom to make sense of a pagan king’s dreams. A king who, by the way, had the power of life and death over him:

Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons, deposes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. To you, O God of my ancestors, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and power, and have now revealed to me what we asked of you, for you have revealed to us what the king ordered. (Daniel 2:20-23)

Daniel went on to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and as a result of his God-given wisdom, insight and understanding was lifted up into a place of influence and power. (I wonder if there isn’t a message there in that for you and me amidst all this uncertainty.)

All too often we Christians cloister ourselves away in our holy huddles only to over-spiritualise things. Or we go out and do a bunch of good deeds, without ever using the opportunity to introduce people to the God who put His love into our hearts in the first place.

Either way, instead of being God’s meaning-makers in society, the way Daniel was in his context, we botch the opportunity to share God’s wisdom into the things that are really in people’s hearts and on their minds.

Question: whether you live in the UK or elsewhere in the world, how are you responding to Brexit? With doom and gloom? With criticism and fear? Or is your perspective predicated on the fact that come what may, your King reigns?

God changes times and seasons. He deposes one king and raises up another. He gives wisdom to the wise. He arranges times and places and the borders on the earth with a singular purpose:

From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26,27)

In other words all of history, all the events great and small, all the ebbs and flows of kingdoms and borders, alliances and conflicts … are simply a backdrop to God’s purpose of winning souls to Himself. That’s what it’s all about.

And right now, wherever you live, there is uncertainty sweeping the globe.  In Britain and Europe, it’s Brexit. Here in Australia, as I write this blog, we’re a week away from electing a new Federal Government – with many people despairing at the state of politics. In the US it’s Donald and Hillary – indeed the whole world waits with bated breath on the outcomes of the US Presidential race.

If we believe in Jesus, we need to ask ourselves, with what perspective am I approaching all this uncertainty?

Am I just another one of the punters wallowing in all the bad things that might happen? Am I whinging and complaining, speaking into the doom and gloom, criticising and castigating? (Well, are you?!)

Or does my approach, predicated as it is on the absolute sovereignty of God, speak a quiet assurance into the lives of the people around me? Am I somehow different – not in a belligerent way, not in an over-spiritual, Loony Tunes kind of a way – but in a real practical way, in helping people to navigate these uncertain times?

Because let me tell you, your King reigns! Your God is on His throne! None of what is going on in the world at the moment is a surprise to Him and right now, He is looking for His people to make a difference, by speaking His practical love and wisdom into the uncertainty and the fear that’s reverberating around the globe.

What you and I do in these uncertain times, the things we choose to say, our demeanour, our approach to all this doom and gloom – says everything about what we believe about our God. It says everything about the extent to which we believe that God is in the business of drawing people to Himself.

After all, that’s the whole point of history – to provide a canvass for His redemptive love to take effect in the lives of the common ordinary people of this world. People like you and me.

Yep. Brexit is an enormous opportunity. The question is, how many of us will grab it with both hands in order to glorify our God.

 

Finishing Off On a Lighter Note

And just to finish this blog off, let me say I have an enormous confidence too, in the ability of the British people to be resilient and resourceful, buoyed as they have always been, by their courage and their splendidly unique sense of humour.

So, when it comes to the European Idea, I shall allow Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame to have the final say:

 


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17 Comments

  1. Hi bernie thanks so much for your timely messagetoday on the struggles with our flesh. As you said we all struggle with this myself included.
    Really enjoy your messages
    Blessings

  2. Hi Bernie thanks for your great post.
    I pray for unity and peace for all England Scotland Ireland Wales and moreover the World.
    I prayed about my vote and the decision about brexit for Gods will to prevail.
    I know God is in control and I feel
    Peace.
    I am in a prayer group both for uk Australia and USA and we are all praying for peace and unity, also for your election coming up.
    I really enjoy your word and thanks for directing me to Christianity works.
    Our pastor has been praying for peace and unity with us at church so happy to know some leaders are.
    I agree with you this is a time for is to open up to the world and shine his light on them to be different be in the world but not of it.
    I listen to UCB ireland daily love the worship music and the daily word such a blessing to me
    Thanks and God Bless you

  3. Berni,

    Thank you ever so much for another interesting and thought-provoking article. I entirely agree that our future is in God’s hands and, in the context of the current political climate, couldn’t help thinking that I’d read the best ever Political Manifesto at the weekend, when my Bible reading led me to Revelation chapter 21, verses 3 – 4. Scripture does not promise us economic prosperity or transient relief from life’s ills, but something far better and more enduring: “…and He (God) will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” In verse 5, we have the assurance that, “Behold, I make all things new,” with the promise that, unlike political promises of the current era, “These words are true and faithful.” Indeed, there is even more to look forward to, as described in verse 6, where those who thirst are promised free access to the fountain of the water of life. While we must endure many trials during our time on earth, it is surely worth remaining faithful to our Saviour, in order to receive the wonderful prize described in verse 7, that “He that overcometh shall inherit all things and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

    Having said that, our faith does not absolve us from the responsibility to use our votes and platforms for the glory of God, whether that be standing on the stage at a Presidential rally or talking with friends in the local supermarket. There can be tremendous power in our words and it is shocking to hear of how members of Eastern European communities here in the UK are being made to feel unwelcome in the aftermath of Thursday’s vote. It is quite ironic that increasing globalisation appears to have had the effect of engendering greater divisions, but in the spirit of Berni’s blog I see even the refugee crisis as a tremendous opportunity. It’s obviously heart-breaking that millions of people are being forced to flee their homes in a state of terror, but how wonderful that many of them are heading to Europe, including the UK, where they may be able to hear the Gospel for the first time. However, rather than simply preaching the Gospel, it is essential that we actually live it; otherwise our words will be in vain.

  4. Good article Bernie, I was born in the UK and came to Australia in 1977, I enjoyed watching every episode of “Yes Minister” and the segment you showed us just about sums up the misguided information that politicians of all persuasions and the media through their embriodering of the truth and blatant lies, can and does influence peoples decisions, has is the case with this referendum, time will tell if this decision to exit the European Union by the UK is the correct decision. Personally I think that open borders with some controls are a good thing, I think as united countries there can be less mistrust, more tolerance between societies, that can foster healthy and caring relationships for each other. Maybe a bit of wishful thinking on my part. .
    By all accounts there may not be an exit if Scotland and Ireland use their pro voting influence in parliament to block the exit, that coupled with the fact that UK residents in the millions are now protesting against the exit vote and that politicians are resigning left, right and center amounts to a very confused UK society.

    My thoughts are always that no matter what happens in this world there is a spiritual force that determines all outcomes, including world events and the thoughts and actions of individuals. That spiritual force is God, we are all supposed to learn from our mistakes (sins) but we don’t, we continue to make choices that are counter productive to the teachings of the Bible. Unfortunately when I express my opinion to people that God and Jesus are real and that if you don’t expect them to do daily wonders for you, that over time you will come to appreciate their involvement in your life and find an inner peace that transcends all of the man made ills that confront us, unfortunately for society no one wants to listen.

  5. Thanks Bernie! Change is inevitable, whether we like it or not and when it seems likely, the scaremongering begins. Sure, many will be disadvantaged, but that is where we can step in and offer hope for a better future with Jesus at the helm. Trust not in princes nor in man… No world government is perfect, they never will be. We need to be compassionate and understanding as individuals face some level of uncertainty, it is real for many. But we are armed with something greater to offer to those in need of love and support.

  6. I live in the North of England Berni and I voted to leave the EU, as did many northerners. The spirit of fear which has gripped so many didn’t come near me, but it’s shocking to see how many it has in its grip! We had a democratic vote and now I believe that it’s time to crack on and embrace whatever comes next. I think it may well be tough, but also a great opportunity. I agree these are uncertain times, but where I put my faith isn’t uncertain.
    God bless

  7. To me, this is not Britain’s doing, but it is Godly design. How much I wish all the other countries would follow suit, coming out of these alliances and co existances that suppress other nationalities. I believe a lot good will come out of this. God bless Britain.

  8. Corrie ten Boom said (after surviving her WW2 Nazi concentration camp ordeal) :
    ” I don’t know what the future holds BUT I do know who holds my future”

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
    acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.Proverb 3:3-5

    Mark b

  9. Hi Bernie,

    Thanks for this great article. I have been quite amused at the reaction of many people who are advancing many theories as to why this “horrible” decision has been made. Claims of such as xenophobia have been bandied around. Doom and gloom out look on economic front. One TV show has advertised as “reporting from the heart of the crisis”.

    It seems to me that the biggest issue is that the result has broadsided all the authorities and markets. They all assumed that the vote would be the other way and had given absolutely no thought to what an exit vote would mean or what strategy would need to be implemented.

    My personal view is somewhat different to those panicking. Having recently read the book “The Poverty Of Nations”, I pondered the proposition, “is exit from the EU necessary to restore the fortunes of Great Brittan?” While not fully decided, I am leaning very much towards it being necessary.

    As you have stated the end result of this may be far from the gloom and doom prediction of many. It may in fact open up many unexpected trade deals. New alliances will be formed.

    Milton Gillie

  10. Hi berni im pro brexit
    Praying God will bring us a hasty exit from this world
    In the meantime yes it is our heavenly mandate to spread the good news til He returns to take us home or we lose our breath whichever comes first

  11. Thank you Berni for this level headed and Godly approach (loved the video, by the way 🙂

  12. Yes, “We call it diplomacy.” Seems the more opinions the less efficient it gets. Is any world government sustainable? No. Without God, nothing is sustainable; oh, it may stand and seem it will be there forever but…. Communism seemed the way for the Soviets but…. It makes one wonder if America’s capitalism isn’t as fragile. ? I have recently begin to think we here in America are now living in “Post Logical America.” The late American commentator Paul Havey once said something that has never left me. He said and I quote “Self Government Without Self Desipline Will Not Work.
    Quite true I Know. America’s fall will come from within as I see her staggering now. There is so much “undisipline, selfishness, segregated groups, and the like.” It seems to be all about me, my group. We are growing
    astranged from a united America with groups, such as: Afro-Americans, women’s groups and the like. Wow, I could go on and on. Morally speaking, the Democrate party in my mind have become the ushers of unpresidented immorality in our age. Certainly there is normal differences between conservative and liberal parties but the liberals have simply lost it. In there quest for freedom they are making slaves out of all of us. Biblically said, “woe to the days evil will be called good and good will be called evil.” We here in America have arrived at this point. The payouts are staggering….unpresidented crime, divorse, women acting as men, men acting as women, unemployment for its people but a broader approach to bring even more people into the county through illegal immigration to refugees of dangerous Muslim factions. Can’t we learn from the “in house terrorist” problems here and recently in the Belgium airport attack? I am sick of the unGodly mindset here and around the world. WE NEED GOD, HIS VALUES, HIS WORDS AND THE FRUITFUL LIFE ONLY HIS WORD BRINGS IF WE LIVE HIS WORD OUT. Too bad Hillary, Barak and company doesn’t believe that; unfortunately, they believe in the god of self and humanism, never learning from the trail of disaster they leave behind in America on nearly daily basis. They refuse to see the “Trogan Horse Policies” they constantly push for despite the “Pandoras Box” effect growing problems day by day they are fathering. God help us and the world at large, we need you God so much.
    David P. Cummings

  13. Thank you Berni for taking our outlook to the firm ground of the Bible. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are certainly being fulfilled. We are living in the end times where the permanent kingdom of Jesus will return and start on a New earth. Praise Him for His promises and providing us with an insight into the troublesome times so we need have no fear and uncertainty.

    Your sister in Christ,

    Evelyn

  14. It’s timingly to read your blog Berni as I was reading scripture about Daniel in my lounge chair just prior to reading your msg.
    At mass I get a strong sense to trust love and act on the vocation I have been given a calling if you like.
    With the UK situation and politics election in Aus. I can’t help wanting people to seek unity. To get that we need to understand the facts to learn what we can do or not to do. Lies keep causing confusion and panic in our thoughts. Media can be terrible.
    With reflection within my own home situation i decided that I could see how to improve unity. To be less snappy at my kids. I could remove myself for what I want rather than what we want as a whole family.
    If we don’t open ourselves to the Holy Spirit to work inside us to stop destractions that can hinder our peace then we can expect chaos.
    Let us pray read and learn from Jesus that what we do can help someone else by his ways.

    • Thank you Burnie for your enlightenment in these times of uncertainty and well replied to Angie. It is truly in these dark times that we can become salt and light to the world and we don’t need to go far in order to do this.

  15. Hello, Bernie; the video at the end was funny but the rest of it was really helpful. Thanks.

  16. Good morning Berni
    Firstly, thank you for helping us to see how we can face these dilemmas as Christians. Jesus is our King, and this has certainly not come as a surprise to Him. So let us look for opportunities to speak about Him rather than looking for doom and gloom.
    Secondly, I so enjoy your sense of humour, and as a South African can really identify with an unsettled world. It is always refreshing to be able to have a good laugh!
    May God continue to bless you as you serve Him in the ministry of Christianityworks.
    Joy Phelps

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