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So what now?

I don’t think many of us expected the referendum result! Some of us will be feeling very disappointed and bruised, perhaps even angry. Others may be feeling delighted, even excited about a future outside the EU. The older among us have the advantage of a sense of perspective – we have lived through many elections and similar events, and we know that sometimes we like the result and sometimes we don’t. But how should we respond? Here are some thoughts in the immediate aftermath. This is not about the issues in the referendum – it’s about us.

 

1. Let’s be grateful

 

We have so much to thank our God for. We can be very grateful to live in a country where a decision like this is not met with a military coup or with the result suppressed – and yes, that would be the same if it had gone the other way. We had the chance to cast our votes. They were counted accurately, the results were announced, and that was that. Let’s not take it for granted. Whether we agreed with the result or not, let’s thank God for it.

 

2. Let’s be generous

 

It’s really important that we believe the best of those who voted the other way – and as things have turned out, it is specially important that ‘Remainers’ are not negative or bitter about ‘Leavers’. For Christians concerned for issues such as compassion, gospel freedom and accountability, there were always strong arguments on both sides of this argument (as I have pointed out before). I have numerous godly friends on both sides of the argument, including many pastors. What may seem obvious to you clearly did not seem so obvious to the millions who voted the other way, and you should not assume that is because they are bigoted, narrow-minded, or racist (or, on the other side, that they are cowardly, unpatriotic traitors). Perhaps they thought about the issues just as carefully as you. Why not assume that they did? In fact, that is exactly what you should assume, especially about your fellow believers, because love believes the best of others (1 Corinthians 13:7).

 

It is really important that Christians on both sides set the pace in the reconciliation we will need. If party leaders, with strong views of their own, are calling for national reconciliation, how much more should we be generous peacemakers at such a time as this (Matthew 5:9).

 

3. Let’s be confident

 

Our hope is not in earthly leaders or governments, and it never was. We are grateful for them and for the way they serve us – the Bible describes them as ministers of God (Romans 13:4). We have some good ones, in all parties – some even of the calibre of Jo Cox. But all our confidence is in the Lord. Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Saviour from there (Philippians 3:20) – this isn’t a Bible study but these references are important!

 

As Christians we understand that there is no more and no less hope for our country than there was before the referendum. We trust in a God who is absolutely sovereign. He is well able to work in and through all events, even those that perplex or dismay us.

 

If we really believe this, then we won’t be talking about the referendum result as if it were the end of the world. We will be neither jubilant nor despondent. We will confidently trust in our Lord.

 

4. Let’s be prayerful

 

Our country needs prayer. It always does, of course. But in these days, let us be specially prayerful. Our church is right in the middle of 40 days of prayer. Let’s take advantage of those special opportunities to pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 is an excellent place to start: we pray for all leaders in government, so that there will be freedom for the gospel and lots of people will hear the good news of Jesus and respond. As Christians, that should be our chief priority, today and every day.

 

Steve Wilmshurst

Steve is Director of Training for Kensington. He's married to Andrea and they have two daughters, Sarah and Anna. Steve also runs the Cornhill+ training programme.