God Can Give You Perfect Peace
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength." (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Raging waves slammed up against the body of the boat, and the worn-out sailors tried to keep it from capsizing. They had spent the whole last month traveling up the east coast of the United States, visiting different harbors on their way to Cutler, Maine. As they neared their final destination, a storm broke out, sending the ship into a furious fight for its survival.
The crew members ran back and forth from the stern to the bow of the ship, trying to secure the sails. To arrive at the harbor, the ship had to get around or between two huge rock formations that were jutting dangerously out of the water. The sailors knew the danger--these rocks could smash the whole ship into smithereens! As the sailors were about to lose hope that they could get the ship around the rocks, they looked up and saw an amazing sight. There, at the wheel, was their captain. He stood calm and looked straight ahead, as though he was not even aware that a dangerous storm raging all around them.
Confused, the crew turned around to see what what their captain was staring at. The captain was watching directly ahead, right along a bright path of light that stretched out over the waves in front of the ship. The light came from a lighthouse on the shore. For years, this lighthouse had been guiding ships through the dangerous rock formations.
When they saw the light and they saw their captain trusting the light's guidance, the sailors understood why he could act so calm, and they felt more calm, too. As long as their captain was watching for the light and following it, he knew that he could steer his ship safely through the rocks. Soon, they would be on shore. Believing that, the captain could have peace, even in the middle of the storm! As long as he kept his eyes on that path of light from the lighthouse, things were going to be fine.
The Bible gives us many examples of men and women who experienced scary trials in their lives: Esther pleaded for her people's lives before an unbelieving king. Gideon had to go into battle against the Midianites with only 300 men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sent to burn in a deadly furnace because they refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar's idol. However, each one survived and saw God's blessings. They were able to experience peace, because they put their trust in God.
Before you shrug your shoulders and think, "Well, of course they had peace. God took care of them!" --remember that they did not know what was going to happen to them. They trusted that God would take care of them, but the Hebrew boys did not know for sure whether God would take them to heaven by dying in a fiery furnace. Esther knew she was supposed to go before the king, but she also knew that it was at the risk of death. Gideon knew God wanted him going into battle with a tiny army, but he had no idea why God chose that. Think about how scary each of those things must have been for these people! They did not know the future. They did not know whether or not it was God's will to protect them or to let them die. But they trusted Him, no matter what. And they had peace. How could they have that kind of peace?
They could have that kind of peace because they were not looking at their own plans or at the storm going on around them. They were looking at their Guide--their all-powerful, perfect, all-knowing God. They did not know what He was going to do with them, but they knew that He was their God and that they were in His good and great hands.
Just as that ship captain had peace while looking at the lighthouse's light, Isaiah 26:3-4 says that you can have perfect peace when your mind is fixed on the LORD. We all go through situations in life that cause us to be afraid. Just like the captain, you might be going through a "storm." Maybe your dad has just lost his job. Maybe your mom or another family member is battling a serious illness. Maybe you're having trouble making friends in your new school, church, or neighborhood. You might be trying to solve your "storm" in your own way, running around like the frightened sailors doing everything they could to save their ship from capsizing--but your own efforts are not working. When you keep your mind on the LORD and remember everything that He is and does, He has promised to give you peace. He does not promise physical comfort or that we will get everything we want. He does not even promise safety. But He promises never to leave us or forsake us. He promises to be the same God yesterday, today, and forever. God wants you to be still, even in the very middle of your storms, and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Trust in the LORD always, for God alone can give you perfect peace (Isaiah 26:4).
Trust God alone to give you perfect peace.
» Am I focusing my mind on the Lord?
» Am I in the middle of a "storm" that I need to trust God with?
» How can I practice the commands to "be still and know" that God is God?
Truth In Real Life
"Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”
The name “Isaac Watts” is printed in nearly every modern hymnal today. Born the oldest of nine children on July 17, 1674, Isaac Watts would go down in history as “The Father of English Hymnody” – the father of hymns in the English language. Many of the 600 hymns he wrote during his lifetime are still sung today, including “I Sing the Mighty Power of God,” “Joy to the World,” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
Watts intended to spend his life as a pastor, but shortly after accepting the job at his first church, he got very sick and never fully recovered. As a result of his poor health, he was forced to stay at home and write. Not surprisingly, God used Watts’ illness for His glory. Many of our hymns would never have been written had he not been sick enough to have to stay home!
Besides writing hymns, Watts wrote books on all kinds of other subjects – like astronomy, ethics, geography, and grammar. His writing was published by Benjamin Franklin, and his books were used in colleges around the country.
Standing only five feet tall, with a very weak and feeble body, Watts did not imagine God would ever use him – but how wrong he was! God used this poet – and continues to use him today! – in churches around the world. One of his little known hymns includes the following words:
Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God: He made the sky,
And earth, and seas, with all their train:
His truth for ever stands secure;
He saves th’oppressed, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promises vain.
Do you doubt that God could use you in spite of your shortcomings and limitations? Encourage your heart with biblical truths about Whose strength and power and knowledge really matters (God’s!). Some of Watts’ hymn lyrics might help you meditate on right thoughts about God, too!
Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.