When Peace like a River

One of my all time Favorite hymns begins with the line , “ When Peace like a river attendith my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

It’s a lovely hymn, made more meaningful by the fact that the author , Horatio G. Spafford ,wrote it shortly after loosing his four daughters suddenly in the sinking of S.S. Ville du Havre.

Over time, this song has defined different challenges in my life. It has been in the background, at my stepfathers funeral in 1995. It has been in the forefront of my mind, when my brother and sister in law experienced a miscarriage. I have sang this song in quiet country chapels, in crowded mega church’s , and in my own laundry room. I have sang it’s words happy and triumphantly, and also while sobbing and wallowing in the pit of despair.

My feelings around this song transcend the lyrics. It seems to me now, that the layers of story and experiences have woven this song into the very fabric of my life.

I think sometimes I miss the meaning. Yes, I realize he is saying that it is well with his soul in the face of insurmountable loss. However, when I stop to consider that first line about rivers, I am undone. “When peace like a river” …. meaning pulsing , rushing water that easily overwhelms, water that can easily drown, damage and destroy. Peace like a river.

Peace like a river in the midst of calamity, in the midst of a global pandemic, drug abuse, job loss, sorrow and death and abuse of power. Peace has been attending my life like a river . You too? I cannot help but think of peace in terms of community, because what good is our individual peace , if collectively peace is absent?

And so dear reader , are you facing any rivers today? I would love to hear about them. Is there anything I can pray for you about today? I would be honored. Leave a comment, send an email, drop a line. I would be honored to remember you in prayer today.

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