I was in England on the day of the referendum. Having lived outside the country I did not have a say in the question that was asked. That did not stop me from having an opinion. But as the time drew near for the question to be answered I found myself wavering. I listened to this one and agreed with his ideas and projections. Then I listened to that one and could see the sense in her arguments. I did not have to answer the question myself – I am not sure which way I would have voted as I did not have to decide. But I was there to experience that time and the uncertainty the response produced.
At the end of June they voted. I went with my host, hoping I would not have to wait too long. I had experienced queues on voting day. But he went into the polling station and was back again in five minutes. And we carried on with our day. He had made his voice heard.
As had many others. And the result was clear the next morning. A result that shocked the world, changed direction, astounded even those who had voted for it.
The word resonated in hushed whispers. The world seemed unreal, as if nature was protecting us in some way from a shock that would change lives and rip people away from a world that was familiar.
What now? What next? Nobody knew.
Markets plummetted. People looked at each other, uncertain of what was going to happen now. It was the subject of every conversation. The sole subject of newsrooms in many parts of the world.
Leadership would change. Whether voluntarily or through pressure, at some stage in the near future, it was likely that it would change.
People said ‘No’. Protests were held outside the seat of government. Petitions were signed by millions. Another referendum was demanded. But there was to be no second chance. The people, those who had wanted their voice to be heard, had spoken. It was too late for anyone to change their minds or have their say.
We had lunch in a small country pub that day. The day of the results. And everywhere the word was on people’s lips.
Around the world people were stunned Many had spoken of it, but it seemed that no-one had expected it to happen.
Europe is firm. This is what you wanted – this is what you will get.
Britain staggers. Parts of it want to break away. They voted to remain. Will this response mean an end to the Union that has been in existence for generations? Is that a good thing – or not? Nobody knows.
People speak about the future as they see it. It will be fine, the best thing that has happened to Britain in a long time; it will be a disaster – loss of jobs, struggling economy – it’s a tragedy.
I flew out the following morning. The airport was seething with people. I turned to my friends in amazement. ‘Are people leaving Britain?’ A quick search on the internet revealed that an airline’s check-in systems had crashed and I laughed in relief, somewhat embarrassed at the sudden thoughts that had crossed my mind. No, the world had not changed that much – not yet …
But do you know something?
As I watched and experienced all this around me and saw a country I love stagger in shock, I became aware that there was one voice above all others.
‘ I am in control.’
My God spoke. And suddenly the economy and the leadership issues and the uncertainty about the future fell into perspective.
‘I am in control.’
Others will hear those words. For whatever the result of the vote, God will never leave. He is there in the shock, in the economy, in the leadership struggle. He will raise up leaders for this time who will lead the country – and maybe the world – into the future He has planned.
It may be that nobody knows what the future holds beyond Europe.
But God does – and He is still in control…