There is a difference between perfect stillness and quiet tension. One is rest, the other is agitation. One is peace, the other is apprehension. One is present, the other postponement. One is a gift of the Spirit, the other self-willed. One is effortless, the other is labor. If we confuse the place of perfect stillness, the center of the wheel, with mere controlled tension, we suffer indescribable loss. If we confuse the place of perfect peace with quiet tension, we are reduced to the self-driven life. If we walk away from the secret place and reclaim our burdens, we have missed it. We are reduced to the proverbial man who walked down the road with his heavy pack, who when offered a ride accepted it, climbing into the man’s wagon, but then refused to take the burden from his back.
Perfect stillness seems unattainable: it confounds human reason and understanding. “Be careful [anxious, worried] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Only the God of peace can give the peace of God. Mercifully, our inability to comprehend the depths of God’s peace does not prevent Him from giving it, for He has said: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Perfect peace, can it be? Perfect literally rendered Shalom, means peace! Extended, the definition includes welfare, health, prosperity, and quiet tranquility, including peace in all our relationships and peace with God. In other words, God’s peace is perfect in that no concern of body, soul, or spirit is out of its reach. Literally Isaiah 26:3 reads: “Thou wilt keep him in peace peace whose mind is stayed on Thee…”
Matthew Henry says of this verse: “Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events.”
Such peace is too wonderful for me. Our own language is insufficient to express the idea of such peace. It is peace peace, this peace with God, peace with others, peace with my body, peace in my innermost soul. It is perfect stillness. It is perfect harmony. It is the place where the center of God and the center of me collide, and I sit suspended in space and time while all of life spins slowly around me and I see if from a new perspective: God’s.