I think we can safely say that the “Keep Calm” meme has finally jumped the shark. There was a time you couldn’t go on social media without seeing it. “Keep Calm and Fake a British Accent.” “Keep Calm and Grow a Beard.” “Keep Calm and Eat Bacon.”
What you might not know is that the “Keep Calm” meme was around long before Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even the internet. In fact, it was around before computers were even invented. You see, before “Keep Calm” was a meme, it was a poster.
In the summer of 1939, Great Britain prepared for imminent war with Germany. Everyone knew what that meant. England would soon be bombed. One minute the sun could be shining; the next, your world could fall apart around you.
At a time of such uncertainty, the British Ministry of Information released a series of posters. The posters were bright red. A simple, white Tudor crown sat above bold letters which read, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
In the end, however, the “Keep Calm” posters were rarely used and did little to encourage a terrified nation.
Not unlike the days before and during World War II, we live in a time of uncertainty. Instead of the Nazis, for us it’s terrorists. Instead of aerial bombs, it’s suicide bombers on subways and massacres in nightclubs. Great Britain has just left the European Union, sending financial markets into a tailspin. Mexico is a hot mess of corruption. The coming presidential election in this country has the world on edge.
If there is one thing 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist attacks have taught us, it’s that one minute the sun can be shining and the next your world could fall apart around you.
If you have a chance today, read Psalm 46. It describes what many of us have felt at one time or another in our lives – the world crumbling around us. At such times of chaos and uncertainty, our God gives us a simple message: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
And unlike the “Keep Calm” posters of World War II, God’s promises are able to give us strength and peace even as the world falls apart around us. You’ll notice, the “Keep Calm” posters gave no reason for encouragement or calm. They simply said, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
We have a reason to keep calm – to be still. Our God is in control. Our God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. His powerful promises are a stream of water which refreshes our souls. Though evil men and women fight against him and us, they can’t win.
In fact, if you look carefully at Psalm 46, the words, “Be still and know that I am God” are actually directed at his enemies. When he says, “Stop,” they have to stop. He is in control.
For now, God allows his enemies to rage against him and us. At times, the world seems to be falling apart around us. But we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus has won for us a home in heaven. God will be our mighty fortress forever.
So keep calm. Be still. Know that he is God.