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 26:2-3 ESV)
We live in a broken and fallen world, where just around the corner, a mighty storm awaits, threatening to shake up and shatter the foundation we’re standing on. We recall Jesus’ parable about the wise man who built his house upon the rock, and the foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Jesus Himself is the Rock upon which we need to stand.
Oh how easy it is to look into the face of the storm and be gripped by fear! How do we know that we are standing on solid ground? How do we know that when that storm hits us with full, frightful and violent force, that we will come out standing? Perhaps more immediate and in the present moment, how can we look into that same storm and not be afraid, but rather be full of peace?
Philippians 4:4-7 also sheds light on how we trust the Lord. Paul exhorts us not to be anxious about anything, and the inference here is that He is at hand. Our Savior is not just near, but He is with us–always. He hears us when we call to Him. This is the assurance we have to let go and trust Him. He’s right here.
Rather than being anxious, we are called to bring our requests to the Lord through prayer and supplications with a heart of gratitude, and the result will be the peace of God surrounding and guarding us in Christ Jesus–upon this Rock. We will be able to face any storm and yet find peace in our souls because we know that someone greater than the most powerful of storms is holding us firm in His hands.
We are all familiar with the story of Peter walking on the water. “Lord, if it is You,” he said as he saw Jesus’ ghostly appearance, “command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come.” And Peter stepped out onto the water. His feet met solid ground, as it were–he did not sink. Why? Because his mind was fixed on Jesus. His faith took hold of Jesus’ word, “Come.” And he believed and came to Jesus.
As a reader, looking back on this story, we might be tempted to criticize Peter for doubting once he saw the great winds coming. But are we so very different? Even has Jesus was right there with Peter on the water, so He is with us. And yet we all go through the same doubting experiences–we look into the storm and become afraid. Jesus told Peter the reason for his sinking was because he had little faith, and doubted. In that moment, he saw the storm as greater than Jesus Himself. How often do we do the very same thing in our own lives?
How do we get to this place of peace and remain there, even while the storm rages on? I must confess that my own faith is weak at times too, but while that may be true, I believe it is right to seek the Lord through His Word, because faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
“You keep him in perfect peace…” – This is what we’re after, right? Fear is crippling. Anxiety is exhausting. God offers perfect peace. Peace that surpasses all our understanding or comprehension. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty delightful!
“whose mind is stayed on you…” – The peace of God is for those who fix their minds on Jesus. This might be difficult, especially if we often get distracted and caught up in other things. Storms are ominous and life-threatening. They can quickly arrest our attention and cause us to be filled with fear, so this takes a bit of decision-making on our part too. We have to “stay” our minds on Jesus. There is no better way to do this than to meditate on His Word and be in prayer. When the temptation of fear comes to our minds and hearts, we have to make a choice whether to listen, or instead look to the promises of Christ in His Word. Jesus began the parable of the builders by saying, “Everyone who hears these words of mind and does them…” We cannot only hearers only of God’s Word, but we must be doers (James 1:22).
“because he trusts in You.” – Fixing our minds on Jesus is an act of pure trust. It’s being able to look away from the storm and the fears that it threatens to bring down upon us and say, “Jesus, You’re enough. Jesus, You’re grace is sufficient for me. Jesus, You’re in control and You work all things together for my good. Jesus, I believe and trust in You.”
“Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock.” – The beautiful thing about trusting God is that unlike storms, He doesn’t change. His promises are true and forever. God is eternal. Therefore we can know that the Rock we are putting our hope in has no chance of letting us down. We’re safe. We’re secure. Forever.
The Lord promises to guard our hearts and minds in Jesus with His perfect peace–if we trust Him. And we trust Him by fixing our minds on Him, by looking to His face, hearing His Word and believing.
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)