"So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic." (Isaiah 28:16)
The words come from the prophet Isaiah to the nation of Israel in the midst of messages of judgement and destruction. A glimmer of hope in the midst of some difficult words to hear.
Words that point toward a hope to come.
Words that also speak hope to us today.
When I read them, I was struck by the last line: ". . . will never be stricken with panic." It seems pretty easy to panic about things in life.
Something unexpected happens at work . . . we panic.
Something doesn't go according to our plan . . . we panic.
Something happen to a loved one . . . we panic.
We panic in many situations, because we're looking at the situation and trying to figure out how we can handle it ourselves.
And then, if you're like me, you read verses like and end up frustrated because it doesn't seem to be true in our lives. We get frustrated because we're not looking at the whole picture presented in the passage.
In Isaiah 28:16, we're told we won't be stricken by panic because of the foundation we're relying on and have built our lives upon. God says that He is setting up a sure foundation for us and if we choose to rely on we won't be stricken with panic. For the last part of this verse to be true in our lives, we have to live according to what the first part says. We have to be building our lives on the right foundation.
When we're building our lives on Jesus, we can stand strong through whatever comes our way. As Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had laid its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus made if pretty clear that it's the foundation we build our lives upon that matters. And when we've built our lives on that solid foundation and are relying it, we aren't stricken with panic when things don't go quite as we had planned.
Something unexpected happens at work . . . we trust God and rely on Him, instead of panicking.
Something doesn't go according to our plan . . . we trust God and rely on Him, instead of panicking.
Something happens to a loved one . . . we trust God and rely on Him, instead of panicking.
It's that easy to say, but it can be more difficult to live. It goes against what we naturally want to do. We have to choose to go once again the firm foundation we have chosen to build our lives upon.
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)