Summary: We have our Christian beliefs, yes-but that isn’t the same as believing God. Believing God is a personal response that grows out of our Christian faith and is expressed by our increasing trust in Him while waiting on Him and His promises.
Opening illustration: In April 2010, clouds of ash spewed by a volcano in Iceland closed airports across the UK and Europe for 5 days. Nearly 100,000 flights were canceled and millions of passengers around the world found themselves in an enormous holding pattern on the ground. People missed important events, businesses lost money, and no one knew when it would end.
When our plans fall apart and there is no remedy, how do we deal with frustration and delay? Isaiah 26: 3-4 is an anchor for our souls in every storm of life: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in [Jehovah], the Lord, is everlasting strength.” Whether we’re facing annoying inconvenience or heartbreaking loss, this rock-solid promise is worth memorizing and repeating every night when we close our eyes to sleep.
Introduction: In this chapter the Lord tells how He will restore the nation. The emphasis is on righteousness and peace. Peace may be outward and inward. Isaiah pictured the day when Christ will return to establish physical peace in the world. The picture is one of the redeemed entering the millennial kingdom. There will be complete peace with no wars, no crime, and no violence of any kind. Salvation is God’s total provision for His people’s needs (v. 1). The prophet encourages God’s suffering people by describing blessings that await them in the future.
Few things (if anything at all) in this fallen world can be called perfect. But God promises to keep us in “perfect peace” if we keep our minds focused on Him and continue trusting Him (Isaiah 26:3). So why do we find it so difficult to trust Him? Often, it’s because we’re afraid that things won’t go as we want them to unless we control them ourselves. The less we are in control, the more anxious and worried we become. Yet we often think our situation is too difficult for God. If we can’t solve things ourselves, we doubt that He can. We have our Christian beliefs, yes-but that isn’t the same as believing God. Believing God is a personal response that grows out of our Christian faith and is expressed by our increasing trust in Him while waiting on Him and His promises.
As our mind remains on Him, He keeps us in perfect peace. This has been the experience of countless believers, and you can experience it too.
How to deal with delay in our lives?
1. Trusting God (vs. 1-4)
What?" you’re asking. "That’s no secret. I’ve read that dozens of times in the Bible and heard lots of sermons on it. What does he mean secret?" The secret lies in putting this truth into practice, by making it such a powerful theme in your life that you view every event, every sorrow, every prayer with the unshakable conviction that God is totally, spotlessly trustworthy.
That’s where we mess up. We want to trust in anything rather than the Lord. We’ll trust in our own abilities, in our boss’s judgment of us, in our money, our doctor, even in an airline pilot. But the Lord? Well … It’s easy to trust in things we can see. Sure, we believe in God, but to allow him to run our life? That’s asking a little too much, we think.
The bottom line is that our wants may not agree with God’s wants for us. After all, it’s our life, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we have the say over it? Shouldn’t we be the one who calls the shots? God gave us free will, didn’t he? When you finally reach the place where your head agrees with your heart, you’re still hesitant. It’s scary. Trusting in the Lord can require that you abandon everything you’ve ever believed about what brings happiness and fulfillment. It requires that you accept the truth that God knows what’s best for you. But how do you make that leap from knowing to doing? How do you trust in the Lord instead of the world or yourself?
The secret lives within you: the Holy Spirit. Not only will he convict you of the rightness of trusting in the Lord, he’ll help you do it. It’s just too tough to do on your own. Because the Holy Spirit knows you better than you know yourself, he’ll give you exactly what you need to make this change. He’s infinitely patient, so he’ll let you test this secret—trusting in the Lord—in little baby steps. He’ll catch you if you stumble. He’ll rejoice with you when you succeed. When you trust in the Lord, you’ll feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. The pressure’s off you now and on God, and he can handle it perfectly. God will make something beautiful of your life, but he needs your trust in him to do it. Are you ready? The time to start is today, right now.