Yesterday was a bit grim on Facebook, I will include my own response here, tired and frustrated as it was. One half of the country wailing and gnashing their teeth through a whole variety of ways: insults, calls for another referendum, prophecies of doom; declaring a burning desire for independence from the UK or leaving for other countries. And on the other side, sarcastic digs as life went on, frustration at being so maligned for voting leave and anger at the calls for another referendum (please, anything but to go through the last month again!).
In the midst of all this rubbish, between posts of anger and grief and hate, there were a few posts of great comfort and encouragement and peace. They were the ones which quoted from the Bible. Without fail, the person quoting was always so much more gracious and understanding of the division the referendum has caused. They were far more likely to expresses forgiveness and compassion rather than insults and anger.
These Christians, of which to my shame I cannot count myself, had a vastly different perspective on the shock event. The same human response was there: sadness, joy, hurt and surprise, but these were muted, in a healthy way, not given to extremes, not likely to be dominating in the person's mind.
And all, because of quoting God's Word! How powerful it is to provide us with the perspective we so easily lack. For God's Word reminds us that God is still God, the gospel is still true and that all events come under his loving care for his church.
Here are some of the my favourites I saw:
“Jesus Chris is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13v8.
I liked this because it was a reminder that God's character is unchanging. We have known the goodness and mercy of Jesus Christ in the past so we will know it in the future too.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” Psalm 46v1-2.
This psalm has long been one of my favourites and given how shocking and history changing the leave vote is then it is a good reminder of help and strength, regardless of which way you voted.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4v6.
The classic reminder to pray, with thanksgiving, for all things that worry us. And how much does our nation need our prayers for everything that we lack – grace, peace, forgiveness and unity!
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3v21–23.
I like the thinking behind this, because I have remembered something about God, so I have hope. When all other hopes fail then we still have the Lord's great love.
“Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” Psalm 119v89-90
God's Word is eternal and is entirely and completely unaffected by the EU referendum.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118v24.
This one is a tricker one, I don't think that all the sad Remain voters should deny their sadness or not express it. But I do think that all our responses should be tempered by the fact that each day is from the Lord. There were one or two posts which encouraged people to say what they were thankful for yesterday and I liked the fittingness of counting blessings when blessings seem in short supply
I think there is a challenge here, not to make every Facebook post Bible related, but to at least give pause to remember God before we post on Facebook. A few minutes of reading Scripture may calm our thoughts and lessen our annoyances.
None of above verses promise economic prosperity, political stability, international peace or a united United Kingdom. No, they promise something far greater – spiritual prosperity, divine stability, peace with God and a unity with Christ and his church. My hope and prayer is that we shall know all these things in a far greater way thanks to or regardless of the leave vote.
I'll close with a few verses from Isaiah 40v6-8 which remind us of how fleeting this generation will be and how soon our arguments over the EU will fade away.
"A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”