“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. Revelation 2:19
On the way to church this morning Sean and I were discussing some travel plans we have slated for this summer and the more we talked the more I could feel fear tightening it’s grip on my heart. I have been really stressed about money the past few weeks. I signed up for some classes this past week that I thought were going to cost us $$$$. Stress. Where was this money going to come from? I didn’t know. Where is the money for this trip going to come from? We HAVE to go, it’s a close family member’s wedding and Anna is in it, we don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Worry and fear were playing tug of war and I was the one losing the battle.
Then we got to church and I’m handed a buletin that looked like this:
Keep calm and carry on. It’s been a catch phrase that has caught fire lately and I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to it, until today. As I held the bulletin in my hand we sang, and sang, and (praise God) we sang. We kept singing until my heart broke in and joined the song. Have you ever had that happen before? Where your mouth was singing but your heart just wasn’t in it. In fact, perhaps, your mind was a million miles away while your body was there singing. Or maybe like me, it was two months in the future worrying about things I could do nothing about in that moment… other than surrender them to my Jesus.
And that’s what I ended up doing. I surrendered them, I set those thoughts aside in order to concentrate fully on the gift I was being given in the present. The gift of the present!
I can’t live in tomorrow because I haven’t been given tomorrow yet. I’ve only been given today. And while I can TRY to live in two moments at the same time, it’s just not possible. And honestly, it’s pointless anyway.
And in that moment of surrender, do you know what God said to me? “Keep calm and Carry on. Calm is something that you can keep or you can let it go. KEEP calm! And then carry on.”
There was a moment in the Exodus where the Israelites had gotten their first real taste of freedom from slavery. They had witnessed all the plagues of Egypt and seen the power of the Lord. They had been released from their slavery and had journeyed to the Red Sea. When in the distance they could see that Pharoah had changed his mind about letting them go. In that moment they panicked. They were free men and women, and they had decided they liked it. But off on the horizon there was this huge dust cloud threatening to take that freedom back from them. Now, the dust cloud was not the army itself, that they couldn’t see yet, it was just the threat of the army. And yet that was enough to terrify them. They cried out to Moses, asking him why he would bring them out into the wilderness to kill them. And weren’t there enough graves in Egypt? And in that moment of preemptive fear Moses told them, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:13-15)
God literally told them to keep calm and to carry on, to stay calm and keep moving in the direction I told you to move. But they couldn’t keep moving forward, there was an OCEAN in their way. Did that stop God? Of course not! Was that a problem for Him? NO WAY! He performed the most miraculous miracle those people had ever seen, and at this point they had seen quite a few!
2 Corinthians 4:6-18 says,
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Press on towards the mark my friend, keep running for the goal, persevere through this trial. It will not last forever, but the strength you gain from it will!
So keep calm and carry on.