January 16, 2020
When Peace Feels Impossible
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Looking to our feelings to steady our souls instead of Truth is dangerous ground.
I saw a vivid depiction of this several years ago when we remodeled our house. I invited a friend over and asked for his expert opinion. But when he started staring at the ceiling with a look of grave concern, I knew something was wrong. One of the major beams had been poorly repaired and wasn't able to provide enough support - a point proven by the sagging floor upstairs.
Seeing those broken boards barely hanging on was like God giving me a glimpse of the unstable places inside of me. They were a loving admonition to stop assessing His goodness based on how my life felt at any given moment.
Why? Because feelings are fragile props. Only Truth is solid, unchanging and stable through and through. The beliefs we hold should hold us up, even when life feels like it's falling apart.
Which brings us to today's key verse. If you and I were able to spend some time digging into the book of Isaiah together, we would discover that Isaiah 26 focuses on the strength God gives His people so they can accomplish His purposes. Where does this strength come from?
First, we need to know that one of the keys to understanding this chapter of the Bible is the realization that the prophet Isaiah is looking forward to the end of all things (Revelation 21:1 – 22:5). Isaiah knows while things may not look good right now, God promises us His plans are good. He is moving us toward that day when death will be swallowed up, and He will wipe every tear from our eyes (Isaiah 25:8). He has ordained our peace (Isaiah 26:12).
But we aren't just promised peace on the other side of eternity. Isaiah tells us how we can experience and walk in strength and peace today:
"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, ESV).
The Hebrew word for the phrase "stayed on" that's used in this verse is samak, which means "to brace, uphold, support." Amazing, huh? In other words, those with minds fully braced, upheld and supported by Truth and trust in God will be kept in perfect peace.
The English phrase "perfect peace" means an "all-embracing peace." It is God, by the power of His indwelling Spirit, giving us the strength internally to face whatever comes our way externally.
This doesn't mean our circumstances will feel peaceful. It doesn't mean all our relationship troubles and hardships suddenly get better. Nor does it mean the prayers we pray suddenly all get answered. But what it does mean is our mind can be steadied with Truth instead of overrun with thoughts of fear, anxiety and worst-case scenarios.
Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (ESV). The same God who rescued David from Saul, who split the Red Sea so the children of Israel could safely pass through, and the One who promises strength to His people through Isaiah - He is the same God you can trust with your life.
John Piper says, "There is no power in the universe that can stop God from fulfilling His totally good plans for you." Words confirmed by Job 42:2, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (ESV).
God is always doing more than you know - working toward a good you'll one day rejoice in.
Dear Lord, help me keep sight of Your goodness in the brokenness of this world. I realize now more than ever I must keep my eyes fixed on You and the Truth of Your Word. Thank You for the peace You give me. I want my security to be found in You - my unchanging, undeniably good and unquestionably loving God. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 26:12, "LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." (NIV)
Psalm 29:11, "The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace." (NIV)
How do we trust God with certainty when our situations seem so uncertain? Identify your trust issues with the Lord and how to overcome them when you join us for our next 6-week Online Bible Study of Trustworthy: Overcoming Our Greatest Struggles to Trust God by Lysa TerKeurst. The study begins January 20, but you can register here for free today!
Find out more about Trustworthy and purchase your copy here.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are there any circumstances in your life right now that threaten to steal your peace? How can you purposefully fix your eyes on Jesus this week - instead of fixating on your problems? Join in the conversation here today.
© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.