Last week I posted a picture that my granddaughter painted me for Christmas – of Isaiah 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. I asked if anyone knew why she illustrated it with a clothesline. A few of you gave me good answers … but I thought I would explain in more detail why I associate that verse with a clothesline
Since I did not send out Christmas cards this year, I am also designating this as my 2019 Christmas letter … or maybe my 2020 New Year’s Eve letter would be more appropriate.
Because what better time to share the message of this verse than the first day of a New Year? This is a great verse to adopt for today or ANY day in the year 2020 (and beyond).
My fascination with Isaiah 26:3 started back in 2005 when Ken was diagnosed with cancer. I have learned a lot of verses in my life. I have worked my way through Good News Clubs, Pioneer Club and Awana handbooks … in addition to my dad paying me to learn additional verses. I don’t know where or when I learned Isaiah 26:3. I don’t remember learning it. I just know that this was the verse that started playing over and over in my mind like a broken record. (Turntables are once again trendy, so maybe that phrase is once again understandable.)
When I faced the future with fear, the verse would be there. When I went to the oncologist with Ken, the verse would be there. When I would cry, the verse would be there.
And Isaiah’s words been a constant in my life since.
But then I got to thinking … what is “perfect” peace? Is there such a thing as imperfect peace and if so, what is it? I mean, can you really have true peace if it isn’t perfect?
Wait a minute, God’s perfect peace is not environmentally dependent. He gives peace in the middle of storms, in sickness, in tough times. So I looked up that word perfect in a Hebrew interlinear Bible and discovered something surprising. The word “perfect” is the exact word that is used for “peace.” In other words, God gives us a double dose of peace. Peace upon peace; no way out of the peace. God’s peace surrounds us and protects us against the imperfect peace of the world.
Now I was even more curious. What did “mind stayed on you” mean? I looked again at the Hebrew interlinear Bible. Another interesting picture became clear. One of the words that defines “stayed” is propped up. I like that.
I looked at some commentaries and one writer said it was like a clothesline prop pole – keeping us propped up, everything steady and without a mishap that causes us to fall. I thought about that. So often when we are discouraged our head goes down, we put our face in our hands, we stare at the floor. But God is there to lean on. He is literally there to prop us up give us a double dose of peace. I think of it as the Lord saying, “Chin up, Linda.”
But we don’t have to stop with verse 3. Verse 4 is also comforting.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Now that I’m going through my own cancer journey, (I am currently in treatment) these verses give me something to grasp onto …
… a double dose of peace.
… the Lord’s strength to prop me up.
… trust in God, the everlasting rock.
Today or any day during 2020 … we do not have to falter, we have stability through our Heavenly Father.