Saturday, July 25, 2009

Peace Like a River (Number 38 in a series)

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:” Isaiah 48:18, KJV

Having grown up along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, I am familiar with the inexorable strength possessed by a moving river. I’ve often thought of the power of God’s love in those powerful terms. The peace, though, is something quite different.

I learned about that in early morning rides during a period when my father had horses. The rhythmic whisper of the waves along the levee, the call of a bird seeking a finny breakfast in the water, the majestic motion of a heavy-laden ship heading for the Gulf of Mexico - all combined with the creak of saddle leather and clop of hooves to create a peaceful haven. Although the day-to-day world existed just out of sight on the other side of a line of trees, on the levee there was serenity.

This same river could destroy with horrific force, should it breach the levees. Floodgates upriver helped to control the quantity of water reaching us in New Orleans, yet we kept an awareness of the fragility of the earthen bulwarks. (The destruction caused by levee collapses following Hurricane Katrina proved the point.) But, oh, the peace of those rides!

God promises not only a river of love to those who love Him – He offers us His peace. We can access that peace through obedience; a peace flowing as unendingly as a river and as constant as the waves on the ocean awaits us. What a promise!

Don’t confuse peace with lack of problems. Just as the world went on beyond the levee, life – and its attendant problems – goes on. Knowing God is in control and covers us with His love gives us the haven of peace we need despite the problems.

Where do you find His peace? What helps you remember His love when the going gets difficult? Think back to a time and place where you experienced His peace and remind yourself of how it felt. Hold fast to His love, even in the bad times.

Father, we thank You for Your unending love and boundless peace. Help us to focus on You when the world offers turmoil. Keep us in Your peace.

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