Today’s Truth

“Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” (Isaiah 7:9b NLT)

Friend to Friend 

I woke up frustrated and discouraged after a battle with worry in the middle of the night. Don’t laugh when I tell you what I was obsessing over because it seems so ridiculous in hindsight. My highly allergic daughters had just convinced my husband and I to allow them to buy pet birds since cats and dogs made them sick. I laid awake fretting about the smell in our house, the annoying sounds the birds made, and then imagined ways to get rid of them without breaking my daughters’ hearts.

Looking back, I can’t believe how overfocused I became on something that wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of life. This worry, fear, and fixating on small problems that I blow out of proportion has been a perennial problem for me. Whether our fears are overblown or completely appropriate because life has thrown us some curveballs, most of us struggle to find peace in the midst of our problems.

The prophet Isaiah recorded God’s messages in an Old Testament book that gives us hope that we can make internal choices that lead to peace when we face worrisome external forces.

There was a king reigning over the kingdom of Judah named King Ahaz who faced threats from two countries. One of these was Judah’s own family. Israel was the northern kingdom made of ten tribes that separated from Judah after Solomon’s reign. Israel teamed up with the pagan nation of Syria to come against Judah. Sometimes when our pain comes from unexpected places – like family, friends, or a church or job we thought was safe – our fears can feel magnified.

You likely don’t have two armies teaming up against you, but I wonder what you could identify as a current challenge coming from external forces. What stressors are threatening your peace right now? Thankfully, now that my twins are in college, I am no longer stressing over their pets’ noises and smells. However, I find that the problems my adult children face often keep me up at night. We all have challenges from external forces whether they are happening directly to us or impacting us through the people we love.

Maybe your situation has nothing to do with children, but perhaps a medical diagnosis, financial crisis, or relational conflict has left you feeling like the people of Judah – shaking in a storm. So, what do we do when we feel the impact of outside forces tossing us about in life? The Bible says, “Do not fear.”

In Isaiah 7, we find the prophet delivering a message to King Ahaz instructing him to stop worrying. “Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm” (Isaiah 7:9 NLT).

“Do not fear” is a command issued often throughout Scripture. Philippians 4:6 tells us to “be anxious for nothing.” That sounds so good, but how do we do that? Like when we can’t sleep, can’t stop recycling our thoughts and emotions, or feel like peace is a luxury we aren’t afforded in our marriages, our jobs, our finances, our health situations, and so on? One commentator summarized God’s instruction to stand firm in faith as “trust or bust!”

When I choose not to trust, I often revert to worry, excessive planning, or complaining about the problem to others. I could definitely put all those in the “bust” category! Instead, we can rely on God’s strength to obey commands like “stop worrying,” “don’t fear,” and “have faith,” even when life is scary. We can find perfect peace when we fix our thoughts on Him. I hope that no matter what type of challenge you are facing today, you can find peace in knowing that God loves you and longs to be your defender!

Let’s Pray

Lord, You are the only pathway to peace. Forgive me for looking for peace in other places. My illusions of safety don’t begin to compare with You. I desire a firmer faith that knows how to stop worrying when I feel shaken by the storms of life. Remind me of who You are again and again as I fix my thoughts on You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Now It’s Your Turn 

What are some practical ways to fix your thoughts on the Lord when you find yourself shaken by external forces?

More from the Girlfriends

Check out Melissa’s new Bible study titled Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More for an in-depth study of the book of Isaiah.

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© 2022 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.

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10 Responses to “The Pathway to Peace”

  1. Deborah says:

    This hit the spot this morning. I excepted a job that was way more than was presented to me. They keep adding jobs and I struggle with doing it efficiently. Because of that I have not been able to think about anything but the job. My blood pressure is up and my sugar is too. When pray It turns into worry. Please pray that I can give it over to the Lord. and rest in (What ever happens its in his will).
    Thank you, Debbie

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you Melissa, for this posting, today
    This summer has been a physical challenge for me. And, with out sugar coating it, I’ve been struggling with fear & doubt.
    Pain, frustration with Doctors, and wondering if God had forgotten me. I think, anyone else would say, “you are dealing with anxiety”. But deep down, in my spirit, I know Jesus is with me through all this craziness.
    In a Bible study that I’m going through (J. Meyer) I know God gives us anointing power and blessings(Ps. 133) and Jesus has told us of His peace (Luke10:1-12). If we have no peace, then there is no power.
    Your posted prayer today, is what I will pray for.
    Thanks again, for helping this bruised believer, a boost today!

  3. Marlys says:

    Thank you for this devotion. Today I am in a week long wait to now if I have inflammatory breast cancer or lymphedema. Your statement “We can find perfect peace when we fix our thoughts on Him”. I will keep trying to do this. Thank you so much.

  4. Sue says:

    I’m praying for you Carol. I’m a late riser, having been retired a few years now, I take advantage of the opportunity for extra rest, but I read GIG most days and I sympathize with your problems. We serve a loving Father, but it’s not always easy to remember that when we are worried or in pain. MAY God be with you and hold you close in your trials.

  5. Lisa says:

    I am having an ultrasound this morning because my liver numbers were high.I have been trying to shed pounds with little success which has never been a big problem for me.I feel my body is not working correctly.Trying not to be anxious about this as I know I am never alone he is with me at all times.Praying that this will be a fixable issue.

  6. Mary says:

    Good morning my fellow girlfriends in God. Each one of you are in my thoughts, and prayers. As I am also going through some scary medical concerns, I know I do not walk alone, and HE is with me every second of the day. A cancer survivor for more than 45 years (teen survivor), only He knows when my race is run. Complete. God is still on the throne, and only HE truly heals; in HIS time, and according to HIS will. Love and prayers to each one of you.

  7. Donna says:

    health concerns are a big focus in our household lately with my husbands aortic valve issue and an upcoming ultrasound and mammogram for me. It’s easy to focus on the problems but every time I do I simply remind myself that my God is way bigger than any problem and that He holds us in His loving arms as we journey on! Prayers for all of my sisters who are struggling!

  8. Carolyn says:

    God has recently walked me through an experience that had me crushed in spirit, broken hearted, and confused. I experienced love and comfort praying His Word, and found a little Booklet called ‘God’s Creative Power for Healing’ by Charles Capps to be life changing, perhaps it will be a blessing…

  9. Aubrey says:

    When I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I try to read one of these devotions to get my mind back right, back centered on God. To remind myself that he is in control.. and that that’s a good thing. I’m just over 4.5 months pregnant (1/2 way!) with our 1st baby. My job is our bread and butter and was the most stable. I’ve been there for 3+ years but they recently started paying me less because they hired more employees. (They consider my income commission.” To give them a little grace, they didn’t know at first that I was pregnant, but it still isn’t ok, and then they started giving me a hard time about my pregnancy appointments. I’ve seen them mistreat many other employees but (somehow?) never thought it would get turned in me. I’ve hired a lawyer and it feels really good to be taking a stand, though I am still employed there so it’s awkward. Also.. the future seems to hold a lot of uncertainty all of a sudden. Praying for guidance, and sending prayers out for all of you.. especially those with health concerns. Thank you.

  10. Joy says:

    Just a question – what birds smell??

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8