The British government established the Ministry of Information (MOI) on September 4, 1939. Its mission was to generate materials to sustain the nation’s morale during World War II. Since bombings and gas attacks were likely, deaths inevitable, and invasion possible, the MOI resolved to bolster the British by disseminating information helpful to the war effort.
One of the Ministry’s first projects was a series of three posters. Each design was similar in style and appearance to the other two, with all of them printed on cardboard sheets featuring solid-color backgrounds. The crown of King George VI adorned the top of each poster, followed by a forthright slogan in simple font.
Millions of one of the posters were printed and placed in a warehouse, intended for distribution only in the event of invasion. The poster featured a stark white font against a red background and bore these simple words beneath the image of the Tudor crown of the British monarchy: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
Britain was spared invasion, of course; and the unused posters were turned to pulp after the war. The destruction was so complete that the only known copies of the sign were stored in the British archives. Or so it was thought, until book storeowners Stuart and Mary Manley bought a box of old materials at an auction. As the Manleys sorted through their purchase, they pulled out a striking cardboard poster with the words: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. They didn’t realize its significance at first, but Mary liked it so much she framed and hung it behind the cash register. Customers began asking for copies, so the Manleys had replicas made. The slogan began appearing on mugs, T-shirts, towels, and more. As the motto spread across the country, the words KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON became a sensation.
This phrase reflects Scriptural truth. The United Kingdom wasn’t the first nation to face the threat of invasion; invasion was a threat in biblical times too. When King Ahaz and the nation of Judah were facing invasion by two enemies, the Lord gave this message through the prophet Isaiah: “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood” (Isaiah 7:4, NIV).
This is a message for us: “Be careful… keep calm… don’t lose heart.” Do those words reverberate in your heart right now? We may live in turbulent times; but we can fix our thoughts on Jesus, claim His perfect peace, and persevere. Trust the Lord and do your duty. Keep calm and don’t be afraid. Carry on and rely on God to fight for you.
A Weather Word
The word “calm” was originally a weather word. It comes from a Latin term meaning “hot” and was used to describe the stillness of a dry and windless day.
In Mark 4, when Jesus rebuked the waves and wind during a storm on the sea, the Bible says: “The wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
According to Webster, the word “calm” means “without rough motion; not windy or stormy; free from disturbance; tranquil; serene.” The Bible uses the word “calm” to describe how the Lord wants to settle the weather patterns of our minds.
King David did that in Psalm 131, as he wrote: “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul.”
King Solomon similarly wrote in Proverbs 17:27, “A man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”
We can live with calmness and confidence because of the promise of Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
We can keep calm and be compassionate. We can keep calm and be constructive. We can keep calm and stay challenged. We can stay calm and committed and convinced. We’re living in the last days—in chaotic times—but, to quote from Isaiah again, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
Worth a Fortune
The words on the British poster are quite appropriate to our personal circumstances too and worth so very much. We can frame and hang them on the walls of our hearts. Behind them is a Scriptural truth: Even in chaotic times we can live with confidence. Beneath the crown of the King of kings against the red backdrop of His cleansing blood we can always…
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
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