Brexit continues to shake the world. Markets lost more than $2 trillion last Friday, the worst single day for the global economy in history. In the aftermath of what one expert called “the biggest global monetary shock since 2008,” two facts seem clear.
One: There is a simple explanation for this shocking event.
CNN‘s Nic Robertson interpreted Brexit this way: “The message from the shires of England is that they no longer trust their leadership.” As a result, many in the U.K. “see a rich upper class that has grown ridiculously rich, intertwined with a political elite in their pocket and their thrall.”
Chris Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, agreed: “Growing social inequality has contributed to a revolt against a perceived metropolitan elite. Old industrial England . . . voted against better-off London. Globalization, these voters were told, benefits only those at the top—comfortable working with the rest of the world—at the expense of everyone else.”
Nationalist movements are gaining popularity in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Switzerland, Slovakia, Italy, and Greece. Radical Islam continues to gain adherents around the world. Brazilians recently voted to impeach their president. Anger against the establishment is growing in scope and severity. Brexit is just the first of many dominoes that will fall in coming months and years.
Two: Simple explanations are usually too simple.
Many who voted to leave the EU are now expressing regret on Twitter with the #Regrexit hashtag. A petition to force another referendum is gathering momentum with more than three million signatures.
Brexit was widely seen as a repudiation of establishment figures such as President Obama, who openly urged British voters to remain in the European Union. However, the president’s approval rating is at its highest level since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Brexit has been interpreted as support for the anti-establishment movement headed by Donald Trump. His followers note that Mr. Trump received more votes during the Republican primary process than anyone in history. However, he also set a record for the most votes against the eventual nominee.
Simple explanations seldom explain the behavior of even one person, much less entire nations. It’s far better to respond to facts than to react to possibilities. As we begin dealing with the Brexit aftermath, those who trust God over politicians and markets will be rare, but the serenity of their witness will be powerful.
They remember that “the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp” (Deuteronomy 23:14) and choose to honor their Omniscient Father with all they say and do. Though they live in “a crooked and twisted generation,” they “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16).
They know that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16). So they “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (v. 18).
Let’s join them.