Peace like a river?

Date: 4 Days before the board exams

When I was young, the Sunday School song “I’ve got joy like a river” made me wonder why God’s peace is likened to a river. I often told my friends that it’d make more sense if peace was likened to a lake or a pond because those two bodies of water were silent. Rivers flowed.  They’re not quiet like lakes. Rivers are not still like ponds. They were constantly in motion. The water’s running and rivers babble and bubble because its waters flowed. Why is peace like a river?

1. Peace is not silent. ‘Peace and quiet’ is different from ‘Peace is quiet’. A person who is at peace is not necessarily quiet. People tend to snore louder when they are in deep sleep. Shy people talk more when they are at peace with the people around them. I know that sounds too literal, but think about it. A student who’s waiting for the principal’s final verdict regarding his case of misconduct would probably be sitting quietly on a chair, but he is not at peace. A thief makes no noise, but his heart would probably be banging in his chest. Libraries are silent chambers usually filled with agitated and nervous crammers. Hospitals are quiet buildings occupied by struggling patients. Peace is not the absence of noise. It is the presence of poise. Peace enables us to calmly deal with trials and the troubles of this world. Freely-flowing waters = noisy rivers.

2. Peace is not stagnant. My father once told me that water from flowing rivers is cleaner than pond water because bacteria accumulates and multiplies when water does not flow. In Psalm 121:8, God promised that “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in…”. God’s peace preserves our flow. God wants us to be constantly flowing just like a river. Peace is not the absence of motion. It is the absence of emotion (anxiety, sadness). Peace causes us to swallow the pain and not wallow in it, allowing us to move on.

3. Peace is not static. Rivers have powerful currents that can weather rocks form crevices on solid rock. The constant flow of water cannot be stopped even by obstructions. Peace is powerful. It causes us to break free from obstructions and distractions that can cause destruction. Jesus warned us about the troubles in this world, but He assured us that He already overcame the world (John 16:33). A peace-filled person is able to stay stable. Panic is a sign of weakness. Anxiety and worry paralyzes a person. Only peace can trump the circumstances’ hold on our reactions and actions.

Genuine God-given peace springs forth from a relationship with God. It gives blessed assurance to his beloved children. The knowledge that God’s presence, power, and providence is with me no matter what enables me to look past the present and flow in God’s purposed path. Peace is the ability to be still in God’s presence and still be moving in God’s path.


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