Isaiah 26:3 - Peace That Surpasses All Understanding.

Isaiah 26:3 - Peace That Surpasses All Understanding.

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)  You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose 
mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. 


   It isn't easy finding peace in a violent world. This task was 
no less daunting for the people in the Bible who followed God in 
the midst of brutal and oppressive times. Isaiah lived in such 
times. He saw Israel (the northern kingdom) conquered and destroyed by 
the Assyrians, who then turned their sights on Judah (the southern 
kingdom). Yet he spoke of knowing peace--not just any peace but perfect 
peace. In fact, he said that if we trust in God and fix our thoughts on 
him, he will not only give us perfect peace, but will keep us in 
perfect peace.  
   The key to knowing God's peace in a violent world is to fix 
our thoughts on him and trust him. When we fix our thoughts on him, 
the dizzying tornado of stress and confusion fades into the 
distance. Circumstances may change, but God doesn't change. He is "the 
eternal Rock" (Isaiah 26:4)--immoveable, unchangeable, firm, and steady. 
We can entrust ourselves to him.  
   No matter what circumstances you face, keep your thoughts on 
and your trust in God. He will give you peace. [The One Year Bible 
for New Believers re Isa.26:3, 4] 


   There are two ways for our sense of God's Presence to 
increase: for us to draw near to Him by "practicing" His Presence and for 
Him to draw near to us by manifesting His Presence. Brother 
Lawrence, the famous monk best known for practicing the Presence, became 
an intensely focused worshiper. He saw many around him trying to 
experience God's love by learning methods and principles, and it seemed 
unnecessarily complicated to him. He chose instead to intentionally worship as 
constantly as possible, to fix his thoughts on Jesus' Presence. This, he 
learned, made all the difference. Theological training wasn't the key to 
experiencing God; focusing on God was the key to experiencing God.  
   When we fix our thoughts on Him, He keeps us in perfect peace 
- or perfect shalom, actually. Not only does He put our hearts at 
rest, He gives us that sense of wholeness and fullness we seek. Isaiah 
26:3 delivers a powerful truth that can affect our satisfaction in 
life for the rest of our days: when we are able to focus on God in 
trust, He is able to grant us shalom. The satisfaction every human 
heart hungers for, so elusive and frustrating to so many throughout 
history, can be ours. We don't get it by striving for it but by trusting 
in the One who offers it. All we are required to do is keep our 
thoughts on Him as He truly is.  
   This is why so many Christians who are born of God's Spirit 
are still discontented and somewhat empty. They have God's life in 
them but are too distracted from Him to benefit from His Presence. 
But it doesn't have to be that way. If you keep your trust fully 
focused on Him, you will live in perfect shalom.  
   Father, help me keep my focus. Turn my eyes toward You. I 
want to experience Your perfect peace in all its fullness. [The One 
Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen] 

   Your attention is a precious commodity, and myriad voices are 
vying for it. Your to-do list screams at you. The circumstances that 
pop up unexpectedly demand an immediate reaction. The people in your 
life are probably a little more polite about getting your attention, 
but they still expect a response. And the to-do list, the urgent 
circumstances, and the people you live and work with all have important 
concerns. You have God-given responsibilities with all of them. But their 
cumulative voices can be relentless. Meanwhile, you're sometimes just 
looking for a moment to breathe.  
   It's impossible to remain aware of God consistently when 
we're under such assaults. We have to prioritize, placing Him at the 
top of our list even at the expense of other worthy goals. If we 
want to have any awareness of His closeness, any sense of His 
Presence, any hint of His voice, we have to clear the clutter out of our 
minds, sit with Him, and be still. There's no other way.  
   This is where we find out the depth of our desire for God. 
Would we simply like to experience Him? Or are we desperate for Him? 
The way we prioritize our time reveals a lot. If knowing Him is more 
urgent to us than the voices that demand our attention, we'll make room 
for Him and eventually experience Him deeply. If not, we won't.  
   We have to determine to make hard choices and then brace for 
the assault against them. That doesn't mean we neglect our loved 
ones and responsibilities, but we do have to remember which 
relationship is our life. Seeking God's Presence and fixing our thoughts on 
Him takes time, but it's vital. And it speaks peace to every other 
voice that seeks our attention.  
   Lord, I fix my thoughts on You. I choose to spend time 
sitting in Your Presence each day, to turn my heart toward You in brief 
in-between moments, and to expect You to step into my circumstances and 
relationships. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris 


   Helmut Thielicke, preaching to his shattered congregation in 
Stuttgart during the chaos of World War II, described sin, suffering, and 
death as hostile powers - enemies of God. War and its horrific 
convulsions, he said, come from our separation from God. Yet, for people of 
faith, even though the dark powers are permitted their way, a 
transformation takes place.  
   The transformation this young wartime pastor pointed to is 
that our Father in heaven sees all. As we call on the Father, even 
terror and the dreadful valleys of the shadow of death become places to 
traverse beside our Good Shepherd.  
   Thielicke emphasized to his terrorized congregation in the 
bombed-out city that when we know the good hand of the Father is at work in 
our lives, we receive tremendous comfort. It was Jesus who taught us 
to pray, "Our Father" - the Father who loves us and "has great, 
fatherly plans for our lives."  
   In the midst of the absurd horrors of war or in the aftermath 
of the death of a loved one or in the ordinary grief and suffering 
of our families and communities, we may find it very hard to sense 
the good hand of the Father. Sometimes in our pain we ask, "Where 
was the Good Shepherd when this happened?"  
   In our questions and in our suffering, Jesus' invitation is 
to pray, "Our Father ..." (Matthew 6:9, NLT).  
   Our Father will listen to us and walk with us and lead us. 
   As Helmut Thielicke preached, he knew his listening 
parishioners might at any moment hear the scream of air raid sirens. He told 
his congregation that when they prayed "Our Father," they could know 
the secret "that the Father's voice is really and truly calling our 
name in the dark forest and that we can answer as beloved children: 
'Abba! Father!'"  
   Our Father in heaven, help us to hear your voice and to 
respond to you. Give us courage when we hear the sirens going off in our 
lives. Let your love, Lord, replace our fears, and help us to share 
your love with others.  
   You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all 
whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3, NLT [The One Year Book 
of Encouragement by Harold Myra] 

   Helmut Thielicke asks how Jesus could ever have gained any 
disciples at all when he described the grim prospects of their going out 
as sheep among wolves, homeless and receiving hatred and 
persecution. Yet they should rejoice and be glad! Thielicke asks if there is 
some great mystery here we can't see.  
   Speaking to Christians who had courageously endured 
persecution under the Nazis, he asked, "Did not all of us sense something of 
this dark, yet gladdening, mystery during the days when the church 
was being persecuted? Were not all of us who suffered with Jesus 
Christ incredibly blessed in a way that we would never have dared to 
dream was possible?"  
   We read of saints and martyrs who made ultimate sacrifices 
with songs of joy on their lips. We remember Paul and Silas, beaten 
and shackled in prison yet singing praises to God. Thielicke says of 
this mysterious happiness, "Cross-bearing is full of hidden 
blessings." In contrast, those without faith find that the worst part of 
suffering for them is its meaninglessness.  
   Christians understand that God is not thwarted by world 
events. His plans for redemption through Christ will continue through 
all the travail. Jesus, who suffered for us, prays for us, as does 
the Holy Spirit.  
   Thielicke testifies to the "gladdening" reward of living in 
faith during the time of Nazi terrors. "How often during the worst 
times," he says, having "summoned God into the fray, I was able to say 
joyfully, almost exultantly: 'I'm through, I've made it! Now what comes of 
it is God's responsibility.'"  
   Whatever we face, now or later, we have the same opportunity 
to cast all our deepest troubles and even desperations on God and 
to let him do his work his way.  
   Thielicke says that when we step aside, "God himself rises up 
to perform his mighty works, in the midst of the earth, where the 
powers clash and the terrible battle rages."  
   Lord, I mostly feel dread when I think of the kind of 
persecution that happened in Hitler's Germany or right now in Asia and 
Africa. You know all my concerns; grant me, I pray, the joy of fully 
trusting you.  
   You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all 
whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3, NLT [The One Year Book 
of Encouragement by Harold Myra] 


C. S. Lewis