It’s hard to believe that we are still living through a pandemic. Despite all human effort, this virus is relentless and unwilling to relinquish its global grip and march of pain. When you consider the lives lost — more than 5 million worldwide — the families devastated, and the economic impact, it's easy to wonder, “What’s next?”
In the fall of 2021, as uncertain days dragged on, God set up a divine appointment to buoy my spirits. I visited with a colleague to see how he was doing and what kept him going.
Without hesitation, he pulled out a little book called Keep Calm and Trust God (Jake and Keith Provance, 2014) and began telling me about its contents. The book is a compilation of inspiring quotes, poems, Bible texts, and prayers on many issues we face today: anxiety, fear, frustration, pressure, depression, crises, etc. No matter what is going on, he shared, we can keep calm and trust God.
His testimony encouraged my heart, and that very day I ordered a copy. In the introduction, I learned the origin of the now-famous slogan, “Keep calm and carry on.” In 1939, as the threat of World War II loomed, the British government coined the phrase and created posters to galvanize resistance against Hitler's evil aggression and provide much-needed encouragement. The introduction to the book notes that “the future of the free world teetered in the balance. And in those dark times, believers everywhere prayed fervently.”
Once again, we are living in dark times. Our world is rife with war, pestilence, natural disasters, poverty, and political strife. In addition to this mutating virus, we are challenged on every side with family, financial, mental health, and personal crises.
In Prophets and Kings, Ellen White sheds light on why: “We fight in a warfare, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. . . . Our hope is not in man, but in the living God. With full assurance of faith we may expect that He will unite His omnipotence with the efforts of human instrumentalities, for the glory of His name” (Prophets and Kings, 1917, p. 111).
As we commence this new year, no matter what each day brings, let us remember to keep calm and trust God, keep calm and pray, keep calm and carry on. God’s got this world, He’s got us, and He will see us through!
Celeste Ryan Blyden is executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference.