The broad river, a constant presence, flows despite obstacles. Sometimes the river runs smoothly; at other times it runs headlong into a snag, separating and diverting its water to other paths. The water flows peacefully on, until downstream it smashes full force against the rocks, shattering spray high in the air. Flowing to the top of a sharp drop-off, the water rushes forward, falling… falling…rushing over the edge, churning and boiling at the bottom. After a time the waters collect in a still pool, resting, reveling in the quiet.
During my mother’s last years, her mind ravaged by dementia, my river of peace constantly ran against snags of her lost memory. My peace plummeted over the precipice of countless hours watching her mind rapidly losing rational thought and memory. Constantly swirling and eddying, the waters rushed me from work to my parents’ home to assist Dad in caring for her . Emotional whirlpools threatened to spin out of control. The only thing that kept my sanity during this difficult time was God’s peace.
You may ask how I can feel peace when my world was turned upside down. In Galatians 5:22, we learn that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Only the spirit of God can give us peace in the midst of the snags, rocks, waterfalls, and whirlpools of life. So how do we receive this peace? We can’t buy it in a store; we can only receive it as a gift from God. Once again, scripture aids us in our search for peace. “You [God] will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). Our peace comes when we place complete trust in God and obey His commands (Isaiah 48:18).
When our life’s circumstances shatter against the rocks, placing trust in God’s perfect will keeps us at peace despite trying circumstances. Jesus tells us he leaves us peace, but “I do not give you [peace] as the world gives” (John 14:22 NIV). The countries of the world may continue to fight, and we will still experience difficulties and tragedies. But when we obey God’s commands and trust Him, no matter how difficult our circumstances, we experience His peace, flowing like a river deep within our souls.