Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
This brief verse says a great deal about the state of the world today. The Japanese makes it clear that this is talking about inner peace, rather than simply the lack of war. We have very little control over that sort of thing, and a reflexive pacifism can actually be counterproductive. We tend to focus on God’s positive promises, but His negative ones are very instructive as well. There is ultimately no substitute for a heart that is right with God. Society today is full of “anti-anxiety” drugs that tend to have suicidal feelings as a “side effect,” (What’s anti-anxiety about that?) not to mention the opioid epidemic in the US. Many people are focused on physical and emotional pleasure, and a right relationship with their Creator is given no consideration at all. The biggest problem with all of that is that ignoring God can cause us to mess up the lives of those around us as well, since no one lives in total isolation. Just ask a family member of someone with an addiction! We ultimately can’t control others, so our focus must be on being right with God ourselves so that we can be effective conduits of God’s grace, mercy, and love to those around us. Sometimes that has to be tough love indeed, but if we aren’t right with God, then it’s likely to be anger dressed up as tough love. That can be a hard call! The point is not to let someone else’ actions rob us of our peace, but rather to grow in faith and trust that God can handle it all. Of course the counterpoint to this verse is found earlier in Isaiah: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
I’ve had my run-ins with lack of peace, for sure. Recently, even! When I am in turmoil, I need to stop and take inventory. What is robbing me of peace? How have I contributed to it? Is God able to take care of the situation? The answer to that last question is determined before I ask it, but I’ve got to remind myself of it, just as God did with Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 32:27) When such an inventory shows me something I’ve done, my response must be repentance, asking God for His forgiveness of whatever it is. That most often comes down to lack of faithful obedience. It’s usually not that I don’t know what is right, it’s just that I don’t do what is right. When that happens, I’m throwing away my own inner peace. God never keeps peace from me for any reason; I simply refuse the peace that is available to me through submitted, trusting obedience.
Father, thank You for this clear reminder. There’s been a lot that has gone on, but I know that in Christ I have everything I need, and specifically peace. (Philippians 4:7) Help me be a carrier of Your peace to those around me, drawing them closer to You by my words and actions, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!