Do you have a place that you go to when nothing in your life seems to be going right? A quiet place where it can be just you and God.   Maybe this place is your bedroom, maybe it’s your closet.  It could be somewhere outdoors. A forest surrounded by trees, or on top of a mountain.  For me, it’s a river.

There is something beautiful about a river.  The sound of the rushing water.  The cool refreshing breeze that the water creates.  There are so many songs and hymns that have been written about rivers.    When I need time alone my favorite place to run away to is by the river.  I love the river not only because it’s a beautiful place to relax, but I believe that the river has so much to teach us about God.

One time as I was sitting on a rock and watching the river rush by my spot I thought of something really neat about the river.    The river went from a fast-moving current to slow peaceful waters.  It struck me that our Christian life can actually be compared to how the river flows.

Let’s take a closer look at how a river works

A river is made up of calm sections and then fast-moving sections. The calm sections in a river don’t last forever.  As the canyon narrows the water picks up speed and big rocks in the river create fast-moving currents that are called rapids.  These rapids usually come one after another but there is almost always a calm spot in between each rapid.

When everything is going well in our lives it is like being in the calm parts of the river.  It’s peaceful and quiet, but just like a river, these quiet waters don’t last forever.  When we choose to follow Jesus we are told that our life isn’t always going to be easy.  Each of us will face many trials in this life.  These hard times and trials are like the rapids in the river.  Fast-moving currents are scary.  Rapids are full of danger and can cause many challenges for anyone who tries to navigate safely through. When in the midst of a rapid it is all too easy to get stuck in the current or swept overboard by the strong waves.  But at the end of the rapid (or the trial) peaceful water awaits us.

It is such a comforting thought knowing that just like the rapids, each hardship we face has an end.  After each storm in life, there is a calm place of rest for us.  Also, just like a river, we should keep in mind that the next rapid is just around the corner.  The time spent in the calm water is a time to prepare for the rapids that are coming.  A skillful river guide knows that when entering a rapid, setting up for it while still in the calm water can make all the difference in hitting the rapid well.  Likewise, if we take the time in the quiet water when our life is going well to prepare for the next trial we will enter it prepared and ready and it will be easier to stay strong and endure.

By having quiet times with God each day you can prepare for the swift waters that are coming.  And always remember that whether it’s calm water, or a rushing rapid you find yourself in, God’s peace is always with you.  God is the one in the guide seat keeping you safe as you travel through the scary rapids of life.

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

God promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us. His peace quiets our soul even when the world around us is raging.  We don’t have to be in calm waters to experience this peace and it oftentimes is when we are in the middle of dangerous waters that we feel his peace the strongest. The river is a reminder to me of God’s peace and that’s why it is my go-to place when I need time with God.

Peace isn’t only about living a life that is peaceful and calm, it’s about being anchored in God and trusting that He will protect us through each chaotic storm we face.  The words from the hymn, “It is well with my soul”, remind us of this truth.

“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”

~ Horatio G. Spafford

Whatever part of the river you are in right now, the calm water or the fast-moving rapids, let God be your peace.  Use your time in the quiet water to prepare for the next rapid.  And when you enter that rapid remember to hold onto Jesus and he will get you safely through.