ODJ: Peace Like a River

October 24, 2018 

READ: Isaiah 43:1-13 

When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown (v.2).

As a 97 year old friend and I discussed Horatio Spafford’s classic hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul”, she said the first line gives her reason to pause. The stanza “when peace like a river attendeth my way” doesn’t accurately depict all rivers, she explained, for “all rivers are not peaceful”.

She went on to describe the time she and her husband rafted down a river and encountered “very few calm places” along the journey. In her nearly 100 years of life, my friend has learned that Jesus alone, not circumstances, yields deep solace in all kinds of waters.

Christ’s promises in Scripture can serve as a lifejacket to buoy us above fear in troubled waters. It’s His Word that lets us know—with full confidence—that when we “go through deep waters”, God will be with us (Isaiah 43:2).

In this passage, and throughout the Bible, we’re reminded that we will experience trials in life. It’s not if but when we will “go through rivers of difficulty” (v.2). Rivers of difficulty don’t conjure up images of a steady, rippling brook, but rather of a tumultuous current threatening to overpower those in its wake.

But if we’re in relationship with God through Christ our Saviour, not even the roughest of waters can drown our life in Him. This passage confesses that God is our only hope; as we lean on Him, we can know His powerful presence. And we can experience His rescue from the waters of death as we embrace the hope of eternity with Him.

Only Jesus Christ—not another person, a place, thing or any foreign god—can grant us forgiveness from our sins, transformation and eternity with God. Let’s rejoice and marvel that nothing, absolutely nothing, can snatch any believer out of God’s loving hands (v.13).

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: Acts 10:24-48

Read Psalm 69:15-16 and think about what David was feeling and how he acknowledged God even in his distress. 
What does “peace like a river” mean to you? How does God give you peace both now and for the future?