Are you feeling anxious about something? Are you very disturbed over a situation in your life? Does it seem impossible to find any rest and peace right now? Recently a passage in Isaiah 48 gave me some insight into the reasons behind the anxiety and unrest that I was experiencing.

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17-18).

How incisively the Word of God cuts through and exposes the real issues. I was reminded that anxiety and unrest are often a result of my failure to pay attention to what I know about God. Rarely do I need some new truth or principle to help me out; I just need to practice what I know already.

God’s direction and commands are there for all of us to see and understand. We know the basics, don’t we? And yet our feet tend to stray. We leave off something here and something else there, which we know we should be doing, and we fail to completely follow the commands of God which are clearly understood.

I find that I rarely make a deliberate decision to wander from God’s principles. It’s simply a failure to pay attention to what I know already. My focus becomes fractured. I move slightly off-center, simply because I haven’t paid attention like I should.

And when that happens, the results are loss of peace, loss of rest, anxiety, frustration. When you start to dig underneath those outward effects, you often discover that the cause is failure to pay attention to God’s commands. It may be something that seems very small, but if you walk away from doing it God’s way, you can expect to lose the peace and rest you so need.

The Lord told his people, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river.” If you’re missing peace in your life, check out the obedience department and see if there’s some area where you’re not paying attention to God. Once you get that straightened out, that wonderful, marvelous, indescribable peace will return, like a river, flooding your heart and calming your nerves.