Peace like a river

It was a powerful image for an arid land. To the prophet, peace wasn’t simply the absence of conflict—a quiet or stillness. Peace was an irresistible, cool, and steady force that nourished all life. It revived the depleted and dispirited. Unaffected by human boundaries, it coursed through the nations, connecting them and sustaining them with the same living waters. Most important, it came from God.

Peace like a river (see Isaiah 66:12) doesn’t evaporate with the end of the Christmas season after we’ve packed away holiday decorations and gotten back to the business of the new year. “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14) continues to flow through our thoughts and lives and communities. But because it is a spiritual power, it requires spiritual discernment to recognize it and draw from it healing and restoration. 

Can such power really be present when the headlines blare both international confrontation and local conflict? Is there a peace that is a positive, enduring presence, and not just a lull between violent outbreaks? How do we access it when we’re afraid or discouraged?

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January 11, 2016

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