As turmoil permeated my thoughts, every creak in my empty house intensified my anxiety. Extreme fear had settled into my life in my early twenties, and at times it was debilitating. My imagination became my enemy. Desperately desiring to be at peace, I would pace in my living room, repeating to myself, “God will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him” (see Isaiah 26:3). But the stranglehold of fear broke only when my relationship with God grew to the place where my heart could grasp what it meant to truly trust Him.

There are days when I want to see God’s protection visibly, like the “walls of God’s salvation” spoken of by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 26:1). But unlike the children of Israel, today we don’t witness God’s protection through gazing upon brick and mortar walls. Yet, as Isaiah reveals, it’s not man-made walls that create security (Isaiah 26:12).

Promising to give “peace of mind and heart,” Jesus said, “The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). So how do we experience this gift in a world where crisis seems to intensify each day?

God calls us to more than a superficial application of Scripture to allay our fears. He invites us to place our trust in His worthiness (Isaiah 26:4-6). And because God is just, there can also be a correlation between our experience of peace and whether our hearts are aligned with His ways (Isaiah 26:3,7). We demonstrate that we believe He’s trustworthy when we obey Him, when “our heart’s desire is to glorify [His] name” (Isaiah 26:8). In turn, as He becomes the center of our affections and desires, we find ourselves in the presence of the King who delivers (Isaiah 26:12-13).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Ephesians 2:1-22