Yesterday, I was ecstatic to take my family on a hike at the Mendenhall Glacier. We had such a fantastic time running, jumping, laughing, and playing on the trails. While we were there, I snapped this picture and posted it in Instagram with the caption, “Peace like a River…”
Almost as soon as I sent it through the magical portals of the interwebs, I thought about how my view and sense of His peace is not always exactly like my Father’s. You may be like me and tend to think of peace in the terms of quietness, hushed, still, serene, etc. (thank you, thesaurus!).
Isaiah 66:12 tells us,
For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream…”
I may say river but what I really think of is more of a bubbling brook like the snapshot I took. Sometimes that’s not what I need at all. I need the might and power of His peace river to overcome me and overwhelm me. I need it’s noise and clamor to cut out all the accusations of the enemy, all the “helpful suggestions” of those who think it’s crazy to trust God.
To be honest, I don’t always recognize that kind of assault as peace because my cultural understanding leads me to believe that peace is something akin to “lack of conflict” and in the world’s eyes (and many times ours too), it’s seen as tentative and fleeting. But the Hebrew word, Shalom (which is the word used in that verse) is much deeper. According to Strong’s Concordance,
Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.
When He talks about overcoming me with peace–a peace that passes all understanding– that may not be the most comforting thing initially. It may push boulders and obstacles out of the way. It may realign circumstances and situations. Completeness and perfection are coming to bear on me, and it changes the landscape of my life with its power. It’s that peace that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
When Jesus made peace for us through His blood, it was on a horrific cross of shame (Colossians 1:20). As He makes peace in and through us as the Prince of Peace, it’s probably not going to look or feel like lying in a bed of clover with the wind blowing all around us. Perhaps some of those times we are griping to God about the difficulties in our lives, we are going through the trials and the pains because He has determined to bring peace.
Really makes me wonder how many times I have falsely attributed my turmoil to the enemy when it was simply God rushing in with His peace. Maybe “Lord, lead me in Your peace” is not such a safe prayer after all.
What are your thoughts about this?
This is included in Peter Pollock’s One Word Blog Carnival where this time the topic is Missing.