River

River

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

Philippians 4:6-7

Peace is a term we use to describe a place, society, or inner feeling. It comes with synonyms such as tranquil, calm, restful, quiet. I find it completely satisfying that a song presents peace as a river. The lyrics go “I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.”

Rivers do have a calming side. People purposefully listen to moving water to fall asleep at night and many like to sit next to a gentle waterfall to pause and relax listening to the river’s roar. These rivers provide serenity.

But rivers also have a harsh side. I lived in a house along the White River in my childhood and I saw the destructive force rivers have. This river carried away my family’s picnic table and bench seating. This river came within inches of reaching our living room during flood stage and I saw countless impossibly large logs being tossed around in the water as if they were a cottonwood seed being blown in the air. Rivers erode rocks and riverbanks. And when flowing quickly, rivers can knock down strong adults with only knee-high water. They are ferocious.

And yet this song presents peace as a river. And I love it. When I think about Philippians 4:6-7, I think of the tranquil feeling you get when listening to moving water by speaking and listening to God. But I also feel the changing force of peace when I take everything to God in lamenting, crying, thankfulness, etc. Praying is a forceful experience that provides change in individuals and mental, physical, soulful calmness. In this crazy year that 2020 has become, put your cares, worries, and life in God’s ears. Be thankful and experience the peace he has in store for those who trust him enough to take everything to him in prayer.

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