It makes a person feel rather rickety and unstable on the inside when there is that sense of a lack of peace in the heart, or in the mind, or in the soul. It is like the feeling a diabetic has when the sugar levels drop, which involves that sense of internal grasping, that panicky sense of needing a certain relief, that lethargic sense that you just might not make it. Experiencing a lack of peace can feel frightening. Experiencing a lack of peace definitely does not feel good.
The intimidating thing about getting peace and keeping peace is that there is always something that can potentially off set it. What that tends to do is to cause people to look for a settled peace from inconsistent sources.
Actually, anything humanly proposed, prompted, or provided concerning perceived sources for peace will never bring bona-fide, enduring peace.
However, God can provide it! After all, real and enduring peace only comes from God. His Word clarifies it when it says, “He will keep you in perfect peace.” How would you like to get peace and keep peace in your soul when having severe financial concerns? What about when bad health occurs? Or, when tragedy strikes your family?
The unfortunate sidebar of getting peace and keeping peace in the soul is that people are either unaware they can have such a “perfect peace,” or they do not know how they can go about keeping such a “perfect peace.” While this consideration involves a multi-faceted, spiritual endeavor, it is nonetheless in God’s Word—-Isaiah 26:3-4—- where the clues are clarified.
Clue number one clarifies that God will keep in perfect peace those “whose mind is stayed on Him.” That amounts to a rather simple concept. Peace is consequently proposed, prompted, and provided for two reasons. First, maintaining your mind on God affects what we think, particularly when we call to mind His promises and providence. And, second, keeping our mind stayed on Him affects how we feel, because thoughts focused on Him provide an actual sense of security. You cannot help but feel strong when you have in mind the eternal God of the universe!
Clue number two affirms that God will keep in perfect peace those who “trust the Lord JEHOVAH.” Notice the significance of the name. The very essence of the name inspires the soul. He is the Sovereign. He is the self-existent one. He is Lord of lords. One goes to the highest levels of trust when they trust in the Lord Jehovah. If God is not your trust, you are critically disadvantaged.
Finally, God will keep in perfect peace those who tap into His “everlasting strength.” Strength and peace go hand-in-glove. The obvious value of strength is that it puts one into a superior position to deal with circumstances, which consequently breeds a sense of well-being. It is like a football team that realizes after a few plays that their corporate opponent is not as strong in the physical and strategic dynamics of the game. Thus, they play more confidently.
In much the same way, when we trust in the Lord’s strength to be manifested within ourselves, we come to realize that there is nothing opposing us that is as strong. We thus become more confident—-and ultimately more peaceful in the soul.
Too much unrest in the soul characterizes the people of God. But, for those who cooperate with Him, God has a “perfect peace” that can be gotten and kept. The old hymn is encouraging: “I cannot go on without Him I know, for the world overwhelms my soul. For I cannot see the right way to go when trials over me roll. (But) He whispers sweet peace to me. When I am cast down in spirit and soul, He whispers sweet peace to me.”
The Apostle Paul summed up the matter when he wrote, “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Works for me!
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.