Thursday, August 27, 2009

Perfect Peace

Today’s verse:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I thought that I would check the verse of the day again on as I was finding a verse to meditate on today, and sure enough, the topic is very relevant to my recent thoughts and struggles. Isaiah says that if a person has a steadfast mind, which Isaiah connects to trusting in God, then God will give him perfect peace. I was curious to see what the definition of steadfast is according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, so I looked it up online, and here’s what it says:

Main Entry: stead•fast

1 a : firmly fixed in place : immovable b : not subject to change
2 : firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal

synonyms: see faithful

In light of this definition, perhaps we can put Isaiah’s claim like this: If a person has a faithful, determined mind that firmly trusts in God, then God will give him peace. I think that we can, from the context, conclude that the peace God will give is peace of mind, not necessarily peace in the midst of war or quarrels.

So, what is the significance of this peace of mind that God will give the one who trusts in Him? The first thing I think of is the absence of worry. Isn’t it easy to worry about any and everything under the sun? And don’t we usually worry about things that are out of our control (finances, safety, the impression others get of us, etc.)? If we trust in God, the one who is in control of the entire universe, then we will have a sense of peace because there is nothing that is out of his control. We know that he has our best interest in mind, even things get rough. If our loving and almighty Creator is on our side, then who in heaven or on earth (or what forces of nature) could harm us? As Paul says in Philippians 1:21 (NIV), “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Only someone with a lot of faith can say something like that! If we trust in God, he promises us a place in his beautiful city of paradise—a city permeated with his presence, where his deep love for his people is as tangible as an embrace. Even if evil forces try to claim victory over us by stealing away our earthly bodies, their effort is in vain because Christ conquered death when he arose from the grave to be seated at the right hand of God the Father! We who trust in God will have everlasting life with him because of the work Jesus accomplished through the humiliation and suffering he endured on the cross. If we know that death of our corrupt, diseased, aging bodies ushers us into a new life filled with love, youth, joy, creativity, excitement, and reunion with the One who loves us most, then even the threat of death will not cause us to worry! The problem is that we usually don’t fully understand what God has promised for us when we trust in him, and we find our trust wavering like blades of grass swaying in the wind. I know that’s true for me. I truly believe that the more intimate we are with God, the more we will understand his nature, his sincerity, and his deep love for us. When we understand his nature, and when we experience his presence in our lives, only then can we appreciate all that he has done for us and all that he has in store for us as his followers. Only then can we fully trust him, or even have the ability to trust him. I long for that depth of trust and relationship, and I hope you do as well.

Dear Jesus, thank you for shedding your blood, for enduring shame, and experiencing utter forsakenness on our behalf. Lord, only you could suffer an unjust death but emerge from the grave victorious! Only you could crush the serpent’s head, and only you could reconcile us before God the Father. I pray that you would give us the wisdom and understanding to know your voice, just as sheep know the voice of their shepherd and thus are not led astray. I lay my worries and fears at your feet, Lord Jesus. Help me to fully trust in you. Amen.

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