Yet, in the midst of challenge, God has promised to provide a peace that transcends our circumstances. God’s Word says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4).
God’s promise to provide perfect peace is a solid rock to which we cling in chaotic times. Isaiah’s actual words in the Hebrew language are “You keep him in shalom, shalom (peace, peace).”
I find it interesting that God promises to give us more than peace. God promises double peace—perfect peace. These words have a quality of comfort that transcends the letters on the page.
This promise has a benefit that comes with strong demands. If we meet certain criteria, then we can reap the benefits of the promises here. The requirements Isaiah identified are two-fold: Our minds must be “stayed”—or focused—upon God and our hearts must “trust” God.
“Trust” in the Hebrew Scriptures is synonymous with “faith” in the New Testament. The literal meaning of “trust” is to “lean upon.”
“Reliance” is a good word. Like an elderly gentleman who leans on his walker because he cannot support himself in his weakness.
We often stumble and fall because we do not realize our weaknesses. Leaning on God means acknowledging that we cannot make it on our own. Being “reliant” or “leaning” on Someone (God)—this is to be blessed.
It seems that being self-reliant would be a blessing, but it is not good or even possible. Self-sufficiency would mean that you can handle everything without any help. I don’t know anyone like that—really. Usually, an attitude of self-sufficiency is just a cover-up for fear.
“Perfect peace”—shalom, shalom—comes only through trust. A person’s mind that is focused consistently on God finds the deepest sense of peace.
Trust makes you consistently steady. Many are blown to and fro by circumstances—living from one religious experience to another—having little or no stability. People who are lacking trust in God are relying on personal experiences or circumstances in order to find peace. Thus, peace is elusive.
The Bible reminds us to pray when we are tempted to worry. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Through prayer we focus our minds upon God and express our trust in Him. Only then can we experience “shalom, shalom”—God’s perfect peace.
What about you? Do you experience God’s peace even in the midst of difficult circumstances?
Remember, the key is acknowledging that self-reliance does not work. On the other hand, coming humbly to Jesus Christ and casting your cares upon Him works every time.
— Chris Crain, Pastor, North Valley Church, Margaret