You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)
Our family spent two weeks camping in the Adirondack region of New York this summer. We enjoyed swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Our canoeing adventures took us not only on the pond we were on, but through a six-mile loop of neighboring ponds. Time on the water in our canoe or kayak was quiet and awe filled. It was an incredibly peaceful time.
Peace is something we long for. We seek peace when our world is chaotic and loud. When our circumstances are out of control, we long for a sense of peace and calm. We seek opportunities for peace in settings such as we had on our canoe, or in the still of the early morning. But when we find peace in those moments, the moment is suddenly gone and the peace we once had is gone as well.
The only way we can have peace is to have the peace of God in our lives. Isaiah 26:3 teaches us about this peace. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means much more than just peace and tranquility. It speaks of a completeness and being whole. Shalom encompasses our personal well-being and can also refer to a harmonious state of soul and mind. This is the peace that comes from God. The Amplified Bible tells us this peace is perfect and constant.
Isaiah tells us that God keeps us in perfect peace. He guards us and protects us so that we can have this peace. He preserves our well-being and tranquility. Even when our circumstances are swirling out of control, God is keeping us in peace and maintaining that peace within us.
There is a caveat, though, that we must remember. Isaiah says that God keeps in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him. The Amplified Bible describes this steadfast mind as one that is committed and focused on God. What our mind is fixed on, what our mind is focused on, are the things that will shape us and give us direction. Where our mind is fixed is where our heart—the way we live—will follow. When our mind is focused on the chaos of this world with its dreary headlines and bad news, it is not focused on God and the peace that He offers. When we allow our mind to be overcome by our out-of-control circumstances, then we are not allowing our mind to be fully focused on God. But when our mind is fixed and committed to God and the things of God, we are able to trust Him. We can then take refuge in Him. With minds focused on Him, we have great hope and confident expectation that He will keep us in His perfect peace.
God’s peace is available to anyone who fixes their mind on Him. Then those peace filled moments on the canoe or watching the sun rise will not vanish when the moment is done. But that peace will be constant and perfect, guarded and kept—no matter our circumstances.