“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
My former pastor once said, “Worry is a future without God.” God must be present for there to be peace. That’s why God sent Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to reconcile us, who were once enemies, to God (Romans 5:10). We must always remember that true peace comes from being reconciled to God’s presence through Jesus, not in the absence of fearful things. Remembering this helps us not to create safe and comfortable lives to avoid fear and gain superficial peace. But I have also found that in order for his presence to bring peace, I must also believe the right things about God. Isaiah 26:3 says God keeps a mind at peace that is stayed on Him “because he trusts” in God. Peace requires a mind stayed on God, and trusting God requires right belief about God.
One of the best explanations I’ve found of what it means to believe rightly about God is in the book Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. In this book you will find Bridges unpacks how the bible teaches God is Sovereign, Loving and Wise. These are the core beliefs about God that help you know he is trustworthy. Another book I read referred to this as the “Trusting God Triangle.” To process through my anxiety, I often ask myself this question: Where am I struggling to believe God is Sovereign, God is Wise, and God is Loving? If you battle with belief in any of these areas, you will find yourself anxious or lacking peace. When I work through my anxiety, it always leads back to the fact that I struggle with God’s wise and loving plan. If God is not loving or wise, then I am just waiting for the pin to drop and things to go horribly wrong. In my anxiety, I am just certain that his provision for me will be the worst thing my mind can imagine. So I begin to take control, forgetting that he is sovereign. I try to usurp his authority and become the God of my own life. When I get like this, I think I must keep myself safe because God is not to be trusted. But it is exhausting and anxiety producing to try to play God because I am not God. I am not all-knowing, all-present, or all-powerful. I’m limited. And so I’m trying to be things I never was meant to be.
It’s when I work through these things and ask God to help me with my unbelief that I am able to let God take control, lay down my anxiety, and rest in the good and loving promises of God found in Christ. I then have peace and stop that civil war with God and remember who the enemy truly is. God’s loving, wise and sovereign plan is never your enemy. The distortion of who God is and what He has said is your enemy. This distortion has always been one of Satan’s tactics (see the garden temptation and the temptations of Jesus). You will never have peace until you stay your mind on who God TRULY is, not an inaccurate view of who he is. So to add some to what my pastor said: Anxiety is a past, present, or future without a Sovereign, Loving and Wise God. Peace is the presence of a God who is Trustworthy.
The thing that gives me greatest peace in my moments of inner civil war is believing that a Trustworthy God has set his love upon me. Think about what God has done to set a redemptive plan in motion. Look around and see him saving sinners. His plan is wise even though sometimes it doesn’t seem such. There has not yet been one thing that has come into my life that I cannot look back on and say- wow, the way he connected the dots were for my good and his glory. He did it in a way that only he could, not just for my comfort but bringing about true redemption and restoration. And his love…well he sent his beloved son, his prince of peace, into this world. 1 John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” It was at Christmas time that Immanuel, God with us, came. His presence brought with it a plan for true peace. Believing in this good and wise redemptive plan is not just a thing for the past. It’s for the present and it’s for the future. This God who is the same yesterday, today and always is coming again, bringing final peace and restoration. Keeping our eyes stayed on these promises of our trustworthy God, helps us live in the goodness of the peace he brought and bought.