“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”Isaiah 32:17
A few weeks before my mom died, I was sitting on my back porch continuing a study of the book of Isaiah. As I read, a verse suddenly jumped off the page.Has that ever happened to you? I stopped and read it over and over again: “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” Wow. To a young woman struggling with motherhood, children-hood, wife-hood, family budgets, friendships, loss of some dreams, and challenges of new ones, and the ever-present question: “Why do good things come to ungodly people,” this was great news!
I called Mom. “Mom did you know that this verse is in the Bible?” Mom said, “Well I’m sure I’ve read it before, but haven’t thought about it much.” The next day Mom called me back, “Pam, look at the context of this verse. It’s talking about heaven! Because we hang in there with faith through all the struggles, all the worries we have today are replaced with peace, and quietness and confidence in heaven. And the result is that we can have hope today. You can have hope, and I can have hope, even though our struggles are different.” While I was thrilled at the prospect of heaven in this verse, it surprised me that Mom didn’t first see what I had seen—comfort in my present circumstances.
A short time later, Mom died suddenly, although a result of several difficult years struggling with poor health. Crushed, broken, angry and lonely, I was lost in the questions to God, “Why does it have to be so hard on earth, and why did you have to take Mom now when I really needed her the most?” And then I remembered the sweet conversations around Isaiah 32:17 with her only a few weeks before.
That began my journey with Isaiah 32:17. In the coming years, this verse would become a part of me. I memorized it. I began to notice it in artwork, on notepads, and even on napkins! I looked it up in various translations, NASB, the New Living Translation, and the New King James. I researched commentaries, and I learned more about this verse and Mom’s words to me.
You see, righteousness comes from the Lord. It is His righteousness that we have and it is sufficient for all we seek, now and in the future. Mom and I were in different places in our walk with God. Mom was looking toward heaven, weary and ready to receive His welcome and see Him face to face. And being reconciled to God in that way is the correct interpretation of this passage. Mom saw hope and promise of the future kingdom of Jesus Christ.
I on the other hand, was looking for why I should continue to work hard, pressing on in these earthly struggles and obeying the precepts in God’s Word. I discovered it was right to remain faithful, because in this earthy life the result would also be“quietness and confidence forever.” This meant the peace I longed for was already with me, had been with me all along, and would continue to be with me forever. This also is the correct interpretation of this verse. That’s the beauty and sufficiency of God’s Word. What a promise! And how beautiful that the Lord would take the same passage of Scripture between a mother and her daughter and reach each of them right where they were—one at the end of her life of service, the other in the midst of it.
So now you can see why Isaiah 32:17 is my favorite life verse of several that I hold dear. Not only does it remind me of the last meaningful conversation I had with Mom about the Word of God, it reminds me that God will meet each of us right where we are, and promise us that “the work of righteousness is peace, and the result of righteousness is quietness and confidence FOREVER.”