The winds could not blow stronger. The waves could not pound harder. The lightning flashes are fierce and unrelenting; the thunder is deafening, shaking us to the core. The bomb-like blast is devastating. Is this the end? Can anything survive the crushing pressure? Will life emerge from all of this and still go on? Is there a bottomless reservoir out of which tears will never cease flowing?

Consider this verse in Isaiah:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Perfect peace. Peace, peace.

A mind that is stayed on the Almighty, all-knowing, all-wise God. Fixed, anchored, focused, rests, trusts – stops and stays at God. The racing mind. The scrambled thoughts. The repetition of regrets. The waves of despair as the mind revisits every word that was said or could have been said or shouldn’t have been said. The memory working feverishly to recall every possible action or signal that may have had meaning. Numbed by the pain, the exhausted weary mind cannot sustain another thought.

We ourselves cannot bring the calm or the peace to our troubled hearts. Sheer human determination or stoic resolve cannot bring anything but a short-lived appearance of peace. But the appearance of peace is different than the perfect peace promised in the verse. In the night of our deepest trouble – He will give perfect peace and keep in perfect peace the mind that is firmly established in God – the mind that is anchored in God. The mind that has been reeling with questions that comes to God and stops at God.

Does perfect peace mean the tears stop flowing, the eyes brighten up, the heart is light again and the face beams with radiance? No. But it does bring an understanding that this is not a purposeless, senseless, out-of-control event. It supplies an understanding that the All-wise and Good God is in control and is over all.

The sighs and tears and anguish of Gethsemane were not the evidences of despair or lost hope but rather the evidence of One who anticipated the weight and gravity of the load He would bear at Calvary. Without reluctance, but with a very heavy heart He prayed: “Not My will but Yours be done.” His mind was stayed upon God.

When we fix our minds on God, it is God who will keep us in perfect peace. Others might say: “in the deepest waters of despair and distress, and defying all odds, he seemed to be anchored.” Defying all odds? This verse isn’t even hinting at fate, or chance or a gamble. The promise is certain, and the outcome is assured. Read the verse again and notice the next verse:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  (4)  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

You may have heard nicer renditions of this old ‘Perfect Peace‘ hymn – this one is simply acapella.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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