My parents, John and Linda Stocker, ministered for over 50 years and pastored the same church, Resurrection Fellowship, for 32 years. At one point, their church was listed as the fastest-growing church in America by Christianity Today. So, like the insurance commercials you’ve seen, “they know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two!”
Each month, they publish a newsletter called “Truth With John & Linda” packed full of relevant wisdom alongside beautiful wildlife pictures — like the hummingbird above — which they take around Estes Park, Colorado. Recently, they’ve written some wonderful articles I believe are very helpful through these tumultuous times, and I thought it worthwhile to share this one about God’s “Perfect Peace” and how we can draw from its unwavering strength for our lives. I hope it’s insightful and instructive for you, and if so, you can subscribe to their newsletter through the link below. Enjoy!
Over and over I have been amazed at how God’s Word is so relevant to whatever it is we may be facing. When faced with a great need or trial, suddenly one or two verses will come alive and become the promise on which we stand. I am quite sure this has been happening for many because truly, this has been a time unlike any we have ever seen, and it has forced us to grab hold of God’s Word in a fresh new way. For me, Isaiah 26:3 is the verse that has come alive:
This is the only place in the Bible where the Hebrew word, ‘Shalom,’ is translated ‘perfect peace.’ But, it is the right translation because the definition of ‘shalom’ means not only, “be safe, be well, be happy;” also (abstractly) it includes, “prosperity, peace, favor, (good) health, rest, and welfare,” but also includes, “all is well.” It is perfect and complete with no room for improvement. Jesus echoed this in John 14:27:
Now we come to the big question: Jesus gives it, but how do we get it? As with salvation, it is offered to all, but not all avail themselves of the free gift. If we are honest, we have to admit that whatever peace we have far too often feels very fragile. When faced with a pandemic that fills the globe, we find ourselves too easily agitated and fearful. My friends, this is not how perfect peace is supposed to work!
Is there a key, and if so, what is it?
Well, there is a key and you and I have already read about it. Let’s look at it one more time.
There it is. It is not complex, nor confusing. It really boils down to what we are filling our minds with. Both the mature Christian and the one who has just come to faith in Christ can obtain it. It does not require miracle-working faith. In fact, it does not require anything of you except your willingness to keep your mind stayed on the Lord and His great loving character. When you do this, it will generate its own faith. Read it again, when your mind is stayed on the Lord you will trust in the Lord. My prayer is that the trial we are going through at this time will become the fire that refines your faith and prepares you to walk victoriously through any adversity the enemy will ever throw at you. If you want to fill your mind with something, fill it with God’s Word.