Peace Like a River…
Since my youngest years I have loved to look at and be around rivers and streams. Flowing bodies of water have always brought me certain tranquility and peace. Seated on stone and grass shores with loved ones, my fishing line dangling in the current, has been I think the most enjoyable part of any day gone fishing. The solitude of an ice cold alpine bath after a day of vigorous hiking in the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada provides cool refreshment. I feel tranquility in my kayak, my fingers in the cool water through the gentle currents, or even paddling down rapids of white boiling all around between boulders, there too is peace in the flow and continuity of a river that knows its course and can show the line to follow.
The bubbling sound of a brook, the roar of current rushing over rock, and the lapping sound of water swelling and ebbing up against the shore of slow flowing streams, all provide for me a comforting tranquil peace made known by few other phenomena. Nevertheless, if one is not careful there can be peril in water, even in the smallest of streams. Navigated correctly, with proper safety measures taken, a river can provide safe passage for all who travel there-on. If you follow the map (scriptures and the words of parents and prophets) watching and listening for signs of danger, weather posted like commandments, or gentle whisperings (promptings as one would receive from the Holy Ghost) one can be guided through peril and experience safety and peace.
We find the greatest safety when we follow the guidance of one who is experienced, who knows the waterway, the path upon which we traverse. A well-versed captain, who knows the rules of navigation, and has the experience to provide safe passage, is a lifesaver on the water, a savior who provides safety and peace in the currents through-which we pass.
Such a lifesaver can guide through terrible turbulence of rushing waters, and claim the penitent who have put themselves at risk by unwise choice, returning them to the calm, smooth and peaceful flow that is the river. In like manner, the atonement of Jesus Christ enters into the tribulation of our lives, with outreached hand, rescuing the willing and making those things, which we cannot overcome alone, a sweet calm.
“For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream…, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:12-13).
If our spirits are contrite, even in turbulence that would take us away down unsafe currents, our Captain, our Savior, can rescue and make peaceful and safe all our paths, until we find safe harbor on peaceful rivers. He calls for the penitent, for the contrite heart and poor in spirit, that He might help and lift us to safety and peace.
“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).
As goes the old African-American spiritual, “I’ve got peace like a river in my soul,” with our Redeemer our hearts can be compassed through the trials of life to a comfort even in turbulence and tribulation. That guidance and peace is provided by a Savior, through whom only peace comes, and only true safety can be achieved.
May our spirits be contrite, and our hearts willing, that our own flawed thinking can be overcome to follow the true wisdom and love of our all giving Captain and Savior. Let us find peace on the river that is the Lord’s pathway to joy and safety, and stray not, but reach upward nonetheless to that life-saving hand if only in distress we find ourselves wanting to follow. May we learn these lessons and devote ourselves to our good Captain, and turn no more away from His peace. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.