Finding Calm in the Chaos

In 1930, the British writer Ernest Benn wrote, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy” [1]. I will let wiser and more insightful commentators judge whether Liz Truss went looking for trouble

during her time as Prime Minister. But whether she looked for it or not, she certainly found it.

Truss will now be remembered as the Prime Minister with the shortest tenure in British history, having resigned after only 44 days.


Confusion. Chaos. Calamity. That is, in a nutshell, how the newspapers have reported the

events of the last two days, and indeed two months, in Westminster [2]. There is a debate as to what has caused the recent economic and political turmoil in Britain: the government’s mini- budget; the Bank of England’s policy decisions; global market forces; or a combination of all three [3]. Yet whatever your view is, and even with major reversals to many of the

government’s policies, the end result remains the same – a period of relative economic and

political chaos for Britain.


Consequently, there has been anger both inside and outside Parliament. It is, of course, no

surprise that opposition parties will critique those in power. But members of her own party have also been quick to criticise the Prime Minister and her cabinet. Charles Walker, a veteran Conservative MP, was recently interviewed following a tumultuous fracking vote in the House of Commons and described the behaviour of the current crop of leaders as “a shambles and a disgrace…the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary” [4]. Away from Westminster, millions of people have been left with higher mortgage repayments, and many are still seriously concerned about their energy bills this winter. Around the world,

commentators have looked at Britain with a mixture of bemusement and ridicule due to the

events of the past week [5].


So as Christians, how can we respond?


Firstly, refuse to give into anxiety. For followers of Jesus, there is a need for us to be, as the

Christian writer Mark Sayers says, a “non-anxious presence” in the midst of an anxious age.

This does not mean that we bury our heads in the sand and ignore reality. Nor does it mean

that we pretend to never experience anxiety. It is, however, to ground ourselves firmly in the

sovereignty of God, and to rest in the fact that He retains control and supremacy over the

earth, including its vast network of inter-connected political and economic systems. We can

always rejoice in Christ, whatever our circumstances, and whatever the political or economic

headwinds may be. As the apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:4-6:

“ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”


Secondly, trust in the Lord. In the current climate we crave stable political leadership. Yet even the greatest leaders cannot save us, and so our trust and allegiance cannot be given to any other than Christ – the only truly wise, sovereign, and loving King. As Psalm 146:3-4 reminds

us:

“Do not put your trust in princes,

    in human beings, who cannot save.

  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;

    on that very day their plans come to nothing.”

Even the best plans of the greatest human leaders cannot rescue us from our greatest

problem, which is our own sinfulness. Therefore, we must not ultimately trust in wise

leadership in government, nor in sound economic policy, as much as we may delight in these

things. But we are to trust alone in God himself, whose forgiveness through Christ for those

who repent is always available, and whose Kingdom can never be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).

Thirdly, pray for our leaders, as God’s word instructs us to do (1 Timothy 2:2). It is very

tempting to grumble about the decisions and behaviour of our leaders at the highest levels of government. However, whilst constructive criticism has its place, so too does mercy, grace,

and a proper understanding of our own flaws and failures. After all, how many of us would be

able to contend with the huge level of scrutiny and pressure that our public leaders face? Therefore pray for humility for ourselves, stability and strength for the incoming Prime Minister as he or she governs, and for wisdom and compassion for all those in government as they make important policy decisions over the coming weeks and months.


If we hold onto the sovereignty of God, the Kingship of Christ, and a true understanding of our own shortcomings, then we will discover greater hope and peace in the midst of social,

economic, and political turmoil. Not only that, but we will have the privilege of being used by God as His ambassadors: to show and tell the good news of Jesus to those who are searching for the same hope and peace that we ourselves have found.


References:

[1] Ernest Benn, quoted in H.P. Spring, “What is Truth?”, Orange Press, 1944.

[2] BBC News, 21 October 2022, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-63338939

[3] Huffington Post, 12 October 2022, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/economists-rubbish-jacob-rees-mogg-over-claims-mini-budget-did-not-cause-market-turmoil_uk_63458b1be4b08e0e607d54b5

[4] BBC News, 20 October 2022, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-63320605

[5] iNews, 20 October 2022, https://inews.co.uk/news/world/rollercoaster-liz-truss-chaos-britain-laughing-stock-1922508

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