I have always loved gazing into water. Back when I lived in San Diego, whenever I wanted a bigger sense of what life was all about, I would often head out to the beach just to watch the waves roll in and out. What I drank in, as the horizon swallowed up the ocean or vice versa, was the sense that God is very big. But even more important to me was the peace that I derived from watching the powerful and loud crashing waves rhythmically dancing with the shore line. (Side note: I guess that's why I didn't enjoy living in Florida because the ocean waves were so wimpy in comparison to those of the Pacific.)
It's hard to imagine that something loud and powerful brought peace to my soul, even as I've encountered those same adjectives in other scenarios (traffic, screaming children, jackhammers, or all 3 at once). But what I've discovered is that power IS peace.
Not my power, mind you. For after 38 years, it has become strikingly apparent that I have none of my own. Ironically, my powerlessness still stuns me. When jobs don't appear and when finances seem to choke the living daylights out of me, I kick against the goads until I'm left completely exhausted in every way. And then I turn to the water to remember.
There's a river that flows in my backyard. Oh, how I praise God for that river. No matter how bad my day has been, or no matter what turmoil my heart won't let go of, that river is unaffected. It flows back and forth, to and fro, doing what God has called it to do. And my God is that way too. His perfect plans for me remain unaffected no matter how I perceive the daily chaos. He doesn't worry, because He already has it all figured out. His flow of grace never ends and His ability to deal with me and my problems is unquestionable. He is power, and He is peace.
And I see that in my river. I think it's why the song "It is Well" gets to me so deeply. "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul."
The man that wrote that hymn penned those words as he was sailing over the spot where his daughters drowned in a shipwreck. The same sea which submerged his precious girls, reminded Him of His precious Savior. Oh, praise Jesus that He goes with us!
Folks, I am hurting so bad right now with so many things. And I know that many of you, if not most of you, are hurting too. And I know that many of you probably have much bigger problems than I do. But though our pains might look different, our answer is the same. Every problem, every tragedy, every hurt, every heartache, is meant to take you to the River of Life, the Living Water, Jesus Christ.
And while the pain will remain, the balm will be applied and reapplied, and our Great Physician will tell us that the story is not over. And He will point to the seal of the Holy Spirit over our hearts to remind us that we are indeed His. And then He'll send us back to those same situations, same cancers, same lost jobs, same mean coworkers, same disrespectful children, and same crosses with different eyes to see with. And what will we see? We'll see Him in the fiery furnace with us, and we'll see the divine fire hose in His hands and we'll know that it's just a matter of time (His time) before He douses it forever.
And then we are to share that Scriptural vision with others, not without sharing our pain, because people need to see that we are indeed powerless so that when God's power carries us, He gets the credit for being the amazing God that He is.
Again, let me say that I hurt so bad today. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't talk to my wife, I couldn't even think straight. My needs are so, so many and I feel like I am drowning. But God has used that river in my backyard tonight to remind me that His power is my peace and His peace is my power!
Thank you for hearing my soul, friends.