Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fiberglass Bathtubs and a Forever Rock

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3-4

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who hear a tornado warning and quickly go get in the bathtub and those who immediately open the front door to walk outside to see if the tornado is close to their house. I am the latter, and it drives my wife crazy. 

The problem is that I'm just not convinced my fiberglass bathtub can protect me from a tornado. If I had a real storm shelter it might be different, but why huddle in a damp bathtub for an hour if it isn't going to do me any good?

Perhaps this is how too many of us think about God. "Why take my problems to God in prayer? He isn't going to listen to me. I've tried the whole God thing before and it didn't work for me. God didn't take my problems away." It's uncomfortable to humble ourselves before God. People simply won't do it if they aren't convinced it will work. 

These two verses in Isaiah give us some pretty good reasons to believe it will work. God promises to keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast. The word for "keeping" can also mean that God is guarding or watching over us, ensuring that we are kept in perfect peace. Perfect peace is literally "peace peace" in the original language. It is double peace. The Hebrew word for peace goes beyond our understanding of peace in the English language. According to the ESV Study Bible the Hebrew word for peace "shalom" meant more than just the absence of trouble but also included the idea of positive blessing. It was like saying "all is well." This is the kind of peace that God promises to preserve for those whose minds are dependent on Him. These people have God as their support. They lean on Him. He upholds them. They have confidence in God and trust Him for their security.

The passage continues to tell us that we should trust in God (a concept that includes boldness and confidence) because He is the rock eternal. Some translations render this as everlasting strength, but I like the picture of God as a forever rock. He is immovable and unchanging. Just the kind of shelter you want to run to in a storm. Just the kind of protection you seek out when under attack. God is our refuge!

Here is the takeaway. An immovable, lasting, perfect peace in life has to be built on an immovable, lasting, perfect God. This is the only way to double peace, peace that isn't dependent on your situation. The storm may rage, but your peace is unmoved because you have confidence in your refuge. You may fall, but your confidence is unshaken because your mind is stayed on God's faithfulness instead of your sinfulness. You are quiet even when you are under attack because you know that the ultimate victory has already been declared on your behalf in Christ.

Far too many of us lack this kind of peace, because far too many of us lack this type of confidence in our God. Will you place your trust in God today? Will you rest your mind steadfastly on His nature and His promises? Let God be your support, then you can move forward in confidence knowing that God is your forever Rock, a sturdy constant in a sea of change. 

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