“Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.” — Ps. 119:165
Have you ever come across a verse that seemed like an absolute gift to you in a certain season? That’s exactly how this verse felt to me. It’s funny how a verse that you’ve read countless times can suddenly jump out and resonate so clearly with what you’re going through. Last fall/winter was a particularly difficult time for me due to depression and anxiety. I’d struggled with seasons of depression many times (particularly during the winter months), but the anxiety I felt at that time was something new. I felt like my mind was an uncontrollable swirl and like any semblance of peace had dissolved into thin air.
Then, amidst a 30-day journaling project to take my anxious thoughts captive and counter them with Scripture, I came across Ps. 119:165 and it seemed like I was reading it for the very first time. This verse was a significant key for me learning to renew my mind during a most difficult season.
Here’s how I broke this verse down:
Abundance is defined as “plentiful, copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful.”
Abundant peace means an unimaginably huge amount of peace. And this verse says it belong to me — and you!
If something belongs to us, that means it has already been given over to our possession. It’s within our grasp! It’s available for the taking, whether we know it or not.
“Those who love Your instruction” are those who love and follow God’s instruction. Not those who begrudgingly “obey” God (I’ve totally been there), but those who LOVE God’s instruction because they love Him and they know what following Him leads to. Ps. 119:165 tell us it leads to peace. Isa. 32:17 reads, “The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever.”
These verses about the effect of pursuing God reminded me of Jer. 29:11-13 and an epiphany I had about this oh-so poplar passage a few years ago. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” It’s when we seek God with our whole entire being that we receive that hope and future
Here’s what Proverbs has to say about following God’s instruction: “My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body” (Pro. 4:20-22).
Ps. 119:165 says nothing, literally nothing, can make us stumble. Nothing can rob us of our peace.
In 2016, I painted and journaled Ps. 34:14 (“Seek peace and pursue it”) in my Journaling Bible. At the time, I was struck by the fact that peace is active, not passive. It requires something. It’s not a one-time, “ok, you’ve arrived,” type of thing. It’s a perpetual pursuit. It’s faith in action. It’s righteous living.
In the winter of 2018/2019, I came to an understanding that nothing, NOTHING, could take away my peace unless I let it — not even depression or anxiety — because Scripture tells me peace belongs to me. It wasn’t until I came to this realization that things truly shifted for me. No matter how much we know or love or pursue God, there’s always more. I don’t believe it was ever God’s will or plan for me to struggle with depression and anxiety, but God will use all things for good (Gen. 50:20, Rom. 8:28). This past season of darkness was a time when I learned to love, pursue, and know God in more deeply. Part of this was was declaring that peace was mine, and refusing to let anyone or anything take it away.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” — Matt. 11:29