For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.” Isaiah 66:12
This week I was thinking about a great hymn of the church, one that was born out of deep tragedy and pain. I’m sure many of you will instantly know it by its title: “It is Well With My Soul”.
It is the first verse is that got me thinking.
When peace like a river attended my way….When sorrow like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say… It is well with my Soul.
Peace like a river? Peace is not the typical word I would use for a river. Think about: it rivers rage, roar, run, and overflow. Most rivers I have canoed were challenging and rarely allowed me to rest. So, peace is not a word that I would typically use to describe a river. But, it is exactly the type of peace that we need to have and to allow to carry us on our journey through life.
So, how is God’s Peace like a River?
First and foremost: Every river has a source – a beginning point– God is the source of all peace. The word peace is found about 430 times in the Bible. Shalom (Peace) is Hebrew and speaks of safety, well-being, happiness, and favor. The Greek word for peace means to be at rest, quietness and prosperity. God is the source of that kind of PEACE.
A river is also in constant movement. Its level may rise and fall but is always flowing. Like a river God’s peace is constant, continuous and flowing – it never ceases to flow – no matter the circumstances.
At the same time, every river continues to receive a fresh supply of water from feeder streams to sustain it. God’s peace is delivered to us through the Holy Spirit on a continual and daily basis.
A river typically grows in size as it moves from its headwaters. As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, it will take greater and greater things/circumstances to disturb our peace. “God will keep him in perfect peace (Shalom Shalom) , all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him.” Isaiah 26:3
Philippians 4:6 promises us that the God of Perfect Peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ.
Psalm 46 describes a scene filled with chaos, which we know life can often be, but in verse 4 we are told of a river that makes glad the city of God. A river of peace flowing from God is available to us as we walk through the hardships and struggles of life.
Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Job 22:2
John 14:27 tells us that Christ left us a gift. A gift of peace of mind and heart, and the peace He gives is a gift the world cannot give. So we do not have to live troubled or afraid.
That is our challenge – to continue to seek God, to look only to Him as our source of peace, not the world or the things of the world. What a great picture of God’s peace – A peace that flows through us like a mighty river.
Lynne Jahns is a Christian counselor and holds the honor of being the first Director of Barbara’s Place at America’s Keswick, a residential addiction recovery ministry for women. Lynne is married to Bill Jahns, who also serves on staff at America’s Keswick as the Director of Housekeeping. When not working and studying, Lynne loves to be outdoors and to travel. Family is very important to both Lynne and Bill and a lot of free time is spent with relatives and close family friends. Lynne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences from Cedarville University in Ohio, a Master of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey in Community Counseling, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Louisiana Baptist University.