Rivers are fascinating bodies of water that evoke a variety of thoughts and feelings when we are near them. A quiet meandering river can generate a sense of serenity. Sitting by the edge of a river watching the water flow gently over and around rocks and fallen tree branches and trunks brings a calm that seems to make time stand still. Letting the water trickle over our feet is soothing, refreshing, and invigorating all at the same time! Traversing over rocks and boulders to cross a river is exciting and a bit risky but adds a dimension of adventure into any hike.
Then there are those waterfalls to make us stop and gape at the power of water rushing over the edge, the sound deafening as the forceful surge descends, making it impossible to even hear the voice of someone standing next to you!
Rivers have the ability to inspire our creative juices to flow, unlock our imaginations, or render us speechless as we ponder the magnificence, energy, beauty, and tranquility. They are also a rich source of food, travel, sustenance, and entertainment! God really knew what He was doing when He created something as simple as a river! And then God uses rivers to describe something even more valuable to us – His peace!
God’s people, His bride, the Church, the body of Christ is the “her” God is referring to in this Scripture! He extends His peace to us like a river! By discovering more about the rivers God created for us here on earth, we can understand more about the peace He extends to us on earth!
Rivers vary in size, shape, use, and beauty but they all have commonalities as well. Rivers are natural watercourses, usually freshwater, and most often flow towards a larger body of water. Rivers get their water from precipitation, drainage basins, surface runoff, underground springs, and natural ice and snow packs. The total volume of water transported downstream is a combination of visible free water flow along with a substantial contribution of water flowing through sub-surface rocks and gravel under the river. In other words, the water flow we can’t see may far exceed the water flow we can see on the surface. No wonder we can be amazed standing in a river speculating where the water comes from and where it is going as we experience an underwater current that can be quite different from what we see on the surface!
God’s peace is supernatural, fresh and invigorating as it flows from His throne to us, coming to us in a variety of ways, as it ministers to us as individuals, yet it consistently and indescribably affects our lives! Just as rivers flow toward a larger body of water, the peace of God fills us and causes us to flow in Him, who is larger than anything or anyone in life! Just as river water flowing below the surface exceeds the visible water flow, the peace of God is moving powerfully in our lives, even when we can’t see it. His peace is a powerful current moving and coursing through our lives and most of it we can’t see on the surface. But we can feel it when we step into the river of God, when we step into His peace and let it work deep within, where we can’t see it! We can stand amazed in the peace of God just as surely as we can stand amazed in a river in life!
Rivers are not only beautiful, but valuable, serving many purposes. Most major cities of the world were established on the banks of rivers because they are a source of fresh water for drinking, bathing, and irrigation. They provide a rich source of fish and other edible aquatic life. Rivers can be a means of disposing waste-water, and in less developed countries, other waste as well. Fast flowing rivers are used as a source of energy or hydropower to drive machinery; hydroelectric plants provide power to entire communities; watermills were common for grinding cereals, processing wool, and other textiles. The coarse sediments of gravel and sand generated and moved by river flow is used extensively in construction.
The peace of God is not only beautiful, but valuable as it serves every purpose in life! God establishes us with Him! He is our Source of Living Water so we can drink deeply from Him! We are cleansed by Him, and He waters, irrigates, and saturates us in His peaceful presence. God’s peace provides nourishment to our hungry and thirsty souls, and washes away all the waste and debris in our lives. God’s peace, though gentle and calming, is at the same time, fast flowing to energize and empower us in this world. Every particle of God’s peace is usable to construct our lives in Him!
Rivers form boundaries for cities, states, regions, or countries. They are useful for navigation and transportation, even providing a unique and cost efficient movement of felled trees to lumber camps by floating them downstream. Rivers provide excellent sources of leisure and recreational activities like fishing, boating, tubing, and canoeing, while whitewater river rapids attract kayak enthusiasts.
God’s peace is a safeguard, forming a boundary of protection in Him from any and all enemies. His peace helps us to navigate through life, transporting us effortlessly through many snags and trials, sometimes floating while other times being rushed along, but always flowing in Him! And of course, His peace is an excellent source of pleasure, leisure, and is the perfect and only place to re-create!
God’s peace is ours! We choose to live in His peace by embracing it like a river! Our choosing is followed up by heeding! Isaiah 48:18 “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Heeding God’s commandments means we pay attention to Him and what He has to say, and then we follow Him and what He has to say! Just get in the flow of the river with God! Get in His peace! Don’t stand on the banks and watch the river go by! Don’t watch others flow in His peace while you stand warring with yourself. Take off all your inhibitions, throw off your doubts and unbelief, get rid of your worry and stress, and step into the river of God, the peace of God, and let Him carry you, flow through you, refresh and invigorate you, cleanse and nourish you, sustain and empower you!
The next time you’re near a river, don’t just observe it from the bank. Take off your shoes and socks and step in! Let the water rush around your toes, feet, and ankles. Let your thoughts begin to ascend to Jesus! Let Him be the river beneath your feet. That sounds a little funny doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound very solid or firm and yet, to flow with Jesus, to flow in His peace, to be IN Him is the most peaceful place there ever was, is, or will be!
Enjoy His peace like a river!