Peace Like a River
“Behold, I extend peace to you like a river…as one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you…and you shall be comforted.” Is 66:12a,13)
It has been a year at our house…I mean a YEAR! And I say that not as an expression of time, but as a noun, in and of itself, that says it has been a year of joys, exhaustion, craziness, revealings, pains, disappointments, changes, panics, fears, dread, hope…and a trembling journey towards peace in all of it. I say YEAR as an exclamation…a bellow…an outcry…and maybe even a prayer.
A measure of existence in which we have been bombarded by so many waves of life we could not possibly list them all in one sitting. So much so that when we have been asked how we are, the only answer we can come up with is, “Well…it’s been a year…for sure.”
Maybe you have had a “YEAR” as well.
A year where you can recount the good – the blessings – but you count them laying on the rocks beside a riverbed where the onslaught of rushing water and waves have washed you up and mercifully left you on its shores.
Breathing…but still gasping…thankful…but still bedraggled.
And so it has been for us…and peace has seemed elusive.
Peace…like a river…He promised. Comfort…like a mother comforts her own. I have struggled to find it this year. I have requested it many times…it’s not like I’m not looking for it.
“Lord, if you could just give us a break, here…If you could just take this one thing and fix it so that we could have the strength to deal with all these other things that keep coming…Could life just let up a little bit?”
So I put in my ear buds, listened to my favorite Bible teacher, and went for a walk. The first words I heard were, “God promises peace…like a river…but so often we want peace…like a pond.”
And that is my problem…
I want stillness, quiet, no distractions…then I can have peace…I want peace like a pond. But we were not promised peace like a pond…we were promised peace in the middle of the ever rushing, ever hurrying, always changing river of life.
Shalom…peace. In Israel the appropriate question is, “Mah shlomkha?” “What is your peace?” It is their “How are you?”
“What is your peace?”
In Hebrew, peace means peace…tranquility…safety…harmony.
More importantly, peace means “wholeness” – “complete” – “safety” – “intact.”
Maybe that speaks to you like it speaks to me. Perhaps you needed to hear that today as much as I did.
Because even in my broken places – He establishes me whole. He renders me intact.
He firmly entrenches grace into the caverns of my insufficiencies – and settles me complete.
Intact – as the river rushes bringing with it the good, the bad, the changing, the unchanging.
Whole – not because of any tranquility I try to muster — Whole because He has made it so.
This Rock, this Shelter, this Safe Place, Who breathes Life into drowning hearts…and establishes us safe – in spite of what rages around us.
“What is your Peace?” “What is your Shalom?” they ask in Israel.
Deep in the shadows of a weary soul, I hear the question…I know the answer.
Not “What” – but “Who”…
“Who is your Peace, Child?” the Father says. “Who is your Shalom?”
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted…and your heart shall be glad, and your bones shall flourish like new grass. And the hand of the Lord shall be made known.” (Is. 66:13-14)