Peace Like a River

White water
White water

I kept dreaming about waterfalls. All night. Tumultuous white water splashing over boulders.  Surges of deep sweeping forces drawn over precipices.

Now you need to understand that for years I had a phobia for waterfalls. Strange, I know, when there are so many other options available for things to be irrationally afraid of –spiders, heights, speaking in front of crowds, public toilets, goats, turning left…

In the dark years I had many nightmares about waterfalls and about falling in and being pulled over the edge. I knew even then that waterfalls represented feeling out of control emotionally. In real life I avoided them.

Lundbreck Falls, Winter
Lundbreck Falls, Winter

I met a woman who had fallen over Athabaska Falls as a child and survived. She told me how she decided to face a life-long fear of the falls and revisit them. After considerable therapy, she stood trembling near the edge. Just then a child came running by and tripped right in front of her. She lunged forward and grabbed his leg as he was about to go over the edge. What are the odds? (It was actually a very healing experience for her.)

As I regained health the phobia lessened to the point where I could go to a waterfall and take photos –usually from the bottom, but eventually from the top. So the dreams about waterfalls surprised me.

In the dream I asked, “What is this?”

The answer came back, “Peace like a river.”

I woke up.

“Oh no, no, no. Peace like a river is a calm blue sky river with no ripples but the ones stirred by my paddle,” I said.

Kootenay River
Kootenay River

As I asked the Lord about these images I felt Him say in my spirit, “Peace is not conditional on external circumstance. There is as much of My peace available in white water rapids as in a lazy meandering river. A waterfall is still a river. A giant cascade is still peace like a river.

Could it be there is as much peace available in the midst of emotional upheaval as there is in emotional calm? Jesus was not afraid to express emotion. He experienced righteous indignation to the point of turning tables, anguish to the point of sweating blood, and elation to the point of glowing –yet He was always the Prince of Peace. He could sleep in a boat in the midst of a wild storm because He knew who He was.

I believe now that it is possible to experience peace  even in the midst of whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. When Jesus Christ lives in us, and we in Him,  He shows us who we really are and how to live in the Peace that passes understanding.

God is good.

15 thoughts on “Peace Like a River

  1. Sherri

    That is such good insight …don’t know what it means to me though, because I have always thought of “peace like a river ‘ as moving and whitewater…..


  2. God is good indeed. He brings peace or shalom, wholeness and completeness with nothing broken, no matter what is swirling around us in the atmosphere. Peace in the storm. Thanks for sharing, Charis.
    🙂 Hazel


  3. you’ll not believe this this but as I opened to your blog, to this post, the song on my stereo was “Peace Like A Rriver,” and your message was what My soul needed again ~you were His instrument ~thank you Grace.


  4. breadforthebride

    “Could it be there is as much peace available in the midst of emotional upheaval as there is in emotional calm?” Oh yes, for sure there is. Come to think of it: “emotional calm”, um, what’s that? You hit the nail on the head again!


  5. Beautiful! I believe that true peace is only possible when the waterfalls in life are still pounding -and you feel peaceful despite them! If we wait until there are no waves, it is only peace ‘as the world gives’ and will be blown away by the next wave. I’ve had that level of peace – and now I want the deeper, more permanent kind…


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