Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep the man in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You, because he trusts in You. (NLV)
Today's world may seem dark and frightening. Many people harbour fear and dread of an uncertain future. Along with a deadly disease has come widespread unemployment. Life as we have always known it may never again be quite the same.
A hymn writer of over a century ago, Edward H. Bickersteth Jr., penned words that can bring great comfort. His hymn Peace, perfect peace uses a format of stanzas posing poignant questions followed by helpful spiritual answers. Some of those questions and answers — though expressed in Bickersteth's quaint and archaic phraseology of 1875 — nonetheless echo the solution to our worldwide troubles of today:
- Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.
Peace, perfect peace, 'mid suffering's sharpest throes?
The sympathy of Jesus breathes repose.
Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.
Peace, perfect peace, death shad'wing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its pow'rs.
It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus calls us to heav'n's perfect peace.
Yes, we can experience perfect peace as we trust in our faithful God. Key to this peace, as today's verse from Isaiah says, is in keeping our mind fixed on Him as we trust in Him. It is essential to focus on God's care and sovereignty, refusing to give in to the doubts and fears of looming disaster and an uncertain future swirling all around us. It is enough to place our lives in God's hands, knowing that He will never relinquish His grasp on His children. He does not promise to block us from all hardship and harm, but He does promise to carry us through whatever lies ahead. It has been said that we need not fear an unknown future because God is already there. Yes, He knows what lies ahead of us, and when we arrive there, He will be waiting to carry us safely through.
We all have seen portraits of selflessness displayed by health care workers and kind neighbours looking out for one another. A slower, calmer pace of life — though imposed upon us — may also result in surprisingly positive outcomes. When life returns to a more normal pace, I hope that we will all remember and retain some of the positive elements that we have discovered during this stay-at-home period.
Prayer: Dear sovereign and Almighty God, may we know true peace as we wholly place our trust in You. May we continue to focus our hearts and minds on Your loving care as we move forward through these uncertain times. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Peace Perfect Peace" (Lyrics)