"Keep Calm and Carry On." Originally intended to boost morale in the life of war-stricken citizens in Great Britain during WWII, these words have made a surprising comeback. “Keep Calm and Carry On” is now on t-shirts, stickers, and everything in between to help the next generation forget about their problems. In a culture of “YOLO” and instant gratification, there still remains a lot of worry, anxiety, and stress going on in the lives of college students. A recent study by psychologist Robert Leahy uncovered that the average 18-year-old todays suffers from the same level of anxiety as a 1950s psychiatric patient. We are stressed out of our minds and we have no clue what to do with it.
Although we might be tempted to think this we are alone in this problem due to our busy schedules, the Bible teaches us differently. The people of God in the Old Testament were also filled with anxiety and stress, seen most explicitly in the Psalms.
What caused all of this? Judges 21:25 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” As the worries of life continue to pile up with no end in sight, remember two things:
Keep Calm…The King is Here
The most frequent command in scripture is “do not fear.” With our constant thoughts of the future, job opportunities, test scores, and not to mention our broken families, and the stresses that come with every day life, isn’t God being a little unrealistic in telling us not to fear? He doesn’t just give us a command, though; he also gives us a promise: “I am with you” (Matthew 28:20). These are quite possibly the 4 greatest words in the Bible. This is the same God that created everything your eyes can see, that is controlling the vastness of the universe, and at the same time keeping your heart beating. This should make you feel desperately small and loved all at once.
This is the good news of the Gospel. Christians aren’t promised a worry-free life of ease, but we are promised the King of the Universe. Unlike our anxieties, this promise is actually worth dwelling on. When you woke up this morning, because of what Jesus has done, you got God. As much of Him as you wanted, and more.
This changes everything. Our biggest enemy (sin) has been defeated on the Cross. Our biggest fear (death) has been vanquished by the resurrection. However, as you very well know, at any time of the day, our worries can still creep in and disrupt our seemingly peaceful lives.
The serpent’s venom has been taken away, but we can still feel his bite, so we must also look forward.
Keep Calm…The King is Coming
To have Jesus with us is always enough, but for the Christian, it keeps getting better. When Jesus ascended into heaven he promised to return: to make all things new, to wipe away every tear, to replace sickness with healing, and to replace stress & anxiety with the perfect peace & joy of God (Revelation 21).
What might this look like? At the end of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sam Gamgee discovers that his dear friend is not dead, but alive. He can’t believe his eyes, and he asks, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” For the Christian, the answer is yes and yes forever. If you are in Christ, everything sad and stressful in your life will one day come untrue. As the old hymn goes,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
The things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
So, take heart, and be encouraged, as you sit there refreshing your browser waiting for your finals scores, or racking your brain this summer trying to figure out what you are going to do with your life and who you are going to be with. The King has come, conquering sin and death with his life, death, and resurrection. The King is here, helping you fight the power of sin everyday in your own life through the Holy Spirit. The King is coming, and he is making everything sad come untrue. His Kingdom is one that will last forever. Trust, like the apostle Paul, that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Remember your King. You are His, and He is yours. Keep calm and carry on.