Just a week ago, we were sharing New Year’s blessings with all our friends and family. I was wishing them happiness, peace, prosperity and good health. “May this be your best year ever,” I would say. “I wish you all the best.” I was optimistic for good things to happen, but the truth of the matter is that nothing much changes just because we turn over a new page on the calendar. We still face the same rebellious children, the health scares, the unhappy marriages, the financial difficulties, the unexpected tragedies. It’s just that now we are facing them when we had our expectations set for something so much higher, just because the year got a new number. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being optimistic, but saying “Happy New Year” doesn’t take all our troubles away.
Many years ago, when I was in my first year of university, I learned a new song, well new to me anyway. One of the verses said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” This comes from the King James Version of Isaiah 26:3 which in its entirety says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” In more contemporary English that might be, “You will give perfect peace to those who stay focused on you because they trust in you.” What a great promise that is!
This verse doesn’t mean that we will be exempt from all trials or heartaches, for we know that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to have trouble, (II Corinthians 11:23-27) but based on Isaiah 26:3, he wrote the very practical advice found in Philippians 4:6-7. Pray and give thanks. We will face situations that seem unbearable to us, but if we focus on God, bring all our cares to Him in prayer and thank Him for His many blessings to us, He will grant us a peace that defies explanation, peace that is not like the world gives (John 14:27), peace that will protect our hearts and minds.