03 Jun Searching for Peace?
Darkness had come again. And with it the cold knot of fear and anxiety that was fast becoming my constant companion. Each night, as the sun went down, I was compelled to keep vigil outside of my two and three-year-olds’ bedroom. Convinced that if I let my guard down for even a moment, disaster would strike.
We had moved halfway across the world to India to follow a call into missions. Trusting God with our finances and the people we left behind had been fairly easy, but as we settled into a small Himalayan village I wondered why I struggled to trust him with my children. Were the rats that lurked in hidden corners of our house, which I imagined attacking my kids and infecting them with rabies while they slept, more powerful than the God I serve? Certainly not.
I knew the Bible was bursting with verses telling me to choose prayer over worry, but my nightly vigils felt imperative to my children’s safety, and I wouldn’t be caught off guard. Never mind that it was wearing me down, bit by bit, turning me into a hollow insomniac. My heart longed to obey the Bible’s wise instruction, but my mind was locked in a pattern of self-reliant fear.
I just couldn’t seem to get my mind in line with what I knew the word of God said.
Does this sound vaguely familiar? Maybe it’s not your children. Maybe, for you, it’s another aspect of your life that has you biting back fear and rehearsing knee-buckling what-ifs.
How can we get to the place where our stress-addled hearts and panic-stricken lives come into alignment with the word of God? Where we swap our worries for bone-deep assurance in our Savior. In our heads we know his way is best, but how do we get our hearts and minds to not only agree, but obey?
Isaiah 26:3-4 holds the answer: You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Did you catch that? Perfect peace is available for those who keep their thoughts on Jesus! Those who trust him with whatever they’re facing.
Who doesn’t desire a deeply rooted sense of peace? A peace that isn’t dependent upon how much money is in your bank account or how many people liked your latest Instagram post. As this verse points out, our only source for perfect peace is Jesus.
We need to train our minds, when they’re overtaken by worry and anxiety, to rehearse the word of God. If you’re struggling with anxiety today, try replacing your worries with the truth of Isaiah 26, and allow the unexplainable perfect peace of God to overwhelm your thought life today.
A pastor’s wife and former missionary to India, Erica Barthalow is most at home among those with honest questions and wondering hearts. She’s the author of “Holy Doubt.” You can catch up with her at www.ericabarthalow.com.