The Pathway to Perfect Peace

trails

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” – Isaiah 26:3

There is a strong correlation between the mind and the heart. Here’s what I mean.

The mind’s contemplations and the heart’s affections are revealed to be interwoven throughout the pages of Scripture.

In this passage in Isaiah, we see that to trust in God involves keeping our minds fixed on God. The one whose mind is stayed on the LORD is shown to be the one whose heart trusts in the LORD, and that trust leads to perfect peace.

The Apostle Paul speaks in a similar fashion in Colossians when he writes,

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3)

The mind and the heart, then, are inseparable. What we believe in our minds determines how we live in our actions, which flows from what we set our hearts on.

What a promise we have here in Isaiah!

There is a potential for perfect peace

Perfect peace is promised in this passage to those who keep their minds stayed on the LORD, because the keeping of the mind on the LORD is an expression, a sign, an indicator that one’s trust is in the LORD.

How can we grow in trusting God today? – By filling our minds with the truths of God, His sovereignty, His holiness, His wisdom, His power, His immutability, His Omniscience, His Omnipotence, and most importantly His great love for us in Christ.

In keeping our minds stayed, fixed, settled on Who God Is, we will enjoy peace within our souls. Our hearts will trust in Him and we will enjoy the promise of perfect peace.

God, in Christ, IS the pathway to perfect peace.

There Is More To Our Story Than Our Sorrow

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Sometimes I wake up sad and I can’t really put my finger on the reason behind my melancholy. Maybe you can relate.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe it’s because I can often enter the day feeling behind even before my feet even hit the floor. I reach to turn off the alarm; as my hands stumble to place my glasses on the bridge of my nose, my poor vision is adjusted to 20/20, and the first sighting of the day involves notifications from my iPhone reminding me of tasks left undone, appointments looming, and emails that still demand action and response (the drawback of using an iPhone as my alarm).

The mind, the body, and the soul long for rest. I yearn for a joy and peace so deep that it can’t be touched by my circumstances. But the truth is, on this side of heaven, there is sorrow.

Sometimes, we don’t even know why.

Occasions of Sorrow

I’m learning to embrace the reality that sadness is a normal part of life: even (and perhaps, especially) for the Christian.

The Apostle Paul described himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). Those four words, bound together, provide me so much clarity and hope. There’s a paradox in the Christian life: those with the most joy can also carry the greatest sorrow.

How can we be real, and human, if we don’t admit that we’ve been marked in so many ways by the hurt and the pain and the sorrow we’ve experienced and witnessed as pilgrims passing through this fallen world, on the way to our heavenly home? It’s unrealistic to think that we will be unaffected by the sorrows that surround us. Sometimes it serves the soul to just admit the sadness and for the tears to roll, even as the sun is shining.

I once heard an older man say, “I have no regrets.” To be completely honest, I don’t understand that comment. Maybe it’s because I’m wired differently, but I’m only 37 and I already have so many regrets. There’s so much I would change, if I could turn back the hands of time. Yet, in a very real sense, I thank God for every painful experience. I know Him better as a Redeemer as a result.

If you’ve lived long enough, you know the feeling of having your mind hijacked by memories you would rather forget. Pictures of our past can narrate the story of a season full of painful experiences. A song can fill the air with a melody that reminds us of our sinful past. We can drive by a location that retells the story of a conversation that has never been fully resolved. It lingers there, haunting each passing of that address.

A simple comment can tempt the heart to meander back through a maze of mysterious difficulties that may never be fully explained in this life. Friendships fade. Brotherhood can be broken. Distance brings difficulties. Saints suffer, and loved ones leave us lingering here through the lisps of their last breaths.

In this world, sad things happen, and I’m learning that it’s ok to be sorrowful. It’s ok to admit that we don’t fully understand the perplexing providences of the path we’ve journeyed through. It’s even ok to have some sense of sadness that is always residing in the deepest recesses of our souls. The Apostle Paul did.

Sometimes we’ll wake up discouraged and we don’t even know why. It’s not realistic to avoid all sadness. Here’s what’s more realistic:

To be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Cor. 6:10).

A Foundation of Joy

In the midst of the occasions of sadness, there is a strong, unbreakable foundation of joy for every believer. There is more to our story than our sorrow.

Perhaps that’s what makes the joy of a battle-worn believer so beautiful. It’s not a fake joy. It’s not a facade. It’s for-real.

That’s the kind of joy I want to have – It’s the smile on the face of a dear friend who is trusting God as he undergoes treatments to battle his leukemia. It’s the joy that admits that this life is really hard and we get really sad at times, but we stand on the unshakable Rock of our Redeemer.

For the one in Christ, each sad moment or memory is an invitation to commune with Jesus, the Man of Sorrows. He was well acquainted with grief, and he is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way, as we are, yet without sin. He knows our sorrows. He knows our pain, and He holds the key to our joy. He can lead us down the path that proclaims “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”

We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in the life to come, when everything will be made right. We rejoice in The Lord; we rejoice in his grace; we rejoice in his goodness; we rejoice in his forgiveness; we rejoice in our salvation, and we rejoice that our names are written in heaven. That much is secure, regardless of the sorrow.

You may be sad today. If so, take heart.

In the midst of your sorrow, may you rejoice in Your Savior and in his great love.

There is more to our story than our sorrow

The Man of Sorrows is our Savior

and our friend

We can rest secure, by faith,

and take all our troubles to him