Keep Calm and Carry On!

Not long ago, I was browsing through Nordstrom’s with some friends. A tee-shirt with a slogan printed on it, Keep Calm and Carry On, caught my eye. What great words of encouragement and wisdom. Simple, but profound.

I was curious about this pithy statement and looked it up online. I found out the British government produced three morale-boosting posters at the onset of World War II in 1939. The first two posters, Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Victory and Freedom is in Peril were posted on public transport, in shop windows and on notice boards. The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was to be issued only if Britain was invaded by Germany. Since this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public. It is believed most of the Keep Calm posters were destroyed at the end of the war, in 1945. Some 60 years later, a bookseller found a poster in a pile of old books purchased at an auction. The straight-forward/to-the-point message has been revived and graces tee-shirts, mugs, stationery, and other memorabilia.

It’s good advice–especially in times of duress and uncertainty. Keep Calm and Carry On is reassuring when the cost of living continues climbing, but incomes remain the same, or even more distressing, when jobs disappear, leaving thousands of people unemployed. Random acts of nature have occurred this year with a vengeance as unprecedented tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis have wreaked havoc on communities and countries. It’s helpful to be reminded to put one foot in front of the other and not give in to panic.

I’ve experienced a number of times in my life, when Keep Calm and Carry On could have been my mantra. For me, it’s much more than a stoic determination to do this in my own strength. I realize the One who keeps me calm and gives me strength to carry on is Jesus Christ. A verse from the book of Philippians says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I appreciate the succinctness of this British slogan now making a comeback, but I’m thankful we aren’t left alone to carry on.

How about you? How do you keep on keeping on?

Climb the Mountains!

 

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It’s a quiet Saturday morning, my favorite time to hang out in my jammies to read, pray, and simply listen for God’s still, small voice–sometimes difficult to hear over the cacophony of life’s daily demands. I’ve been thinking about a message I heard the other night from Pastor Moses from Uganda, who is visiting in our area for a few weeks…his first time in the United States–in fact his first time outside of his country!

A few friends from our community traveled to Uganda in 2005 and met Pastor Moses Zirimenya and his wife Annet. Upon returning home, these women shared Pastor Moses’ vision of building a children’s home and school for the many orphaned children in their care. As friends and family responded, Harvest Home Ministries was created. Pastor Moses’ vision has become a reality. His faith and his commitment to serving God are inspiring.

He spoke about being determined to overcome obstacles, being serious in our prayers and willing to sacrifice our time to be in God’s presence, so we can be in tune with His will for our lives. We have to wait on God for answers and never give up hope, he says. We have to learn to be “mountain climbers.” There will always be challenges, but we must climb the mountains instead of giving up.

Pastor Moses should know. When they drilled for water on the school property and couldn’t find any, he refused to give up. They drilled over and over, but no water. Moses prayed and trusted God, only to hear the same news. No water. Finally, when everyone urged him to give up, he requested that they drill one more time. “And this time, there was an explosion of water!” His grin lit up the entire room.

My faith is so small, so weak in comparison. When I face seemingly impossible situations in my life, I am quick to give up, to throw in the towel when the least bit of resistance comes. I knew I could never write that book, I say when the first rejection comes. It’s too hard and I can’t do it. I knew I couldn’t finish it. No one’s really interested anyway. And the self-fulfilling prophesy rambles on in my head.

Then this humble servant from Africa arrives to show us another way. His resources are limited beyond what we can imagine with our affluent lifestyle in the U.S. Yet, I can’t help but think that Pastor Moses is truly the one who is rich. Perhaps he was sent here to minister to us!

I’m convinced I need to be more determined to pray for our country, the issues Randy and I struggle with, our family and friends. Yes, I believe prayer changes things…but do I really? That’s a tough question. I want to believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

I pray that whatever you and I are facing, that we will be determined to climb the mountains.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17