Keep Calm and Carry On.
That’s what the signs say. Originating from the British government in 1939, the slogan was intended to produce resolve and encourage morale in preparation for the air raids that were predicted to follow during World War II. While almost 2.5 million copies of the poster were printed, few were ever publicly displayed until 2000 when a little-known copy was found, soon becoming a household decorative sign.
The British stoic thought of the Victorian age – to keep a stiff upper lip, to keep resolve in the face of trouble – sounds noble and vigilant; yet for many people the advice is hard to follow. In our anxious age with push notifications and constant social media checking, remaining calm is hard to do. Just stuffing your emotions or ignoring your feelings isn’t as easy as reading a sign and keeping your upper lip from quivering.
The Bible doesn’t call us to British stoicism as though being a good Victorian era citizen is the ideal to which we are to aim. Instead, the refrain of God’s people has been to cast anxieties upon the Lord (1 Pe. 5:7), to cry out to him in the day of trouble (Ps. 50:15), and to remain steadfast in the face of adversity (Jas. 1:12). Being steadfast is a great description of what the Christian life is about: in the face of hardships, trials, and difficulties, Christians are to keep their feet firmly planted and not be moved (Eph. 6:14). But the source of our steadfastness isn’t due to our great resolve or our ability to stand, but comes from the steadfastness of the Lord himself. Over and over, Scripture speaks of the ‘steadfast love of the Lord’ – the love of our God who is faithful to his covenant promise to never leave nor forsake us as his people (Exod. 34:6).
Because the Lord is steadfast in his commitment to us, we can be steadfast in our faith. As much as we hold on to the Lord to help us in anxious and trying times, it’s not merely our grip that keeps us but his. He holds on to us. He is steadfast. We hold on because he holds on. We have faith because he is faithful. We love because he first loved us.
Everything in the Christian life begins with God’s initiative. But his initiative does not mean that we have no responsibility. No – his initiative is what strengthens us! We work out our salvation because God is at work in us (Phil. 2:12-13). We don’t just hunker down and try harder; we see his resolve towards us and find his strength meets us.
In an anxious age, the good news that we have is that our steadfastness is due to his steadfastness. He will hold us fast. We don’t just keep calm and carry on. We carry on because he carries us. We don’t ignore the trials and just stay calm; we cry out to him and depend on his calm assurance.
So stay the course! The Lord’s got you and he will see you through these days!
Thankful for the steadfast love of the Lord,