Sep 19 2010

Peace Like a River

BIP 866This morning we sang “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” at church.  That got me to thinking of other hymns that combine peace and rivers.  One of my favorite hymns, “It Is Well with My Soul,” begins, “When peace like a river attendeth my way.”  Another popular hymn begins “Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace.” I’m not aware of any direct link in the Scriptures to peace and rivers.  At times rivers do serve as a symbol of God’s presence and this may be a link.  In the Bible rivers are also viewed as a source of life.  This, too, may be a link.  Throughout the Scriptures rivers are associated with cleansing—physical and spiritual.  This could be a link as well.

In the end I’m not sure the linking of rivers and peace by various hymnists has anything to do with the Scriptures at all.  It may instead simply represent an experience common to many.  There is just something peaceful about rivers.  People have enjoyed sitting by rivers for ages.  There is something incredibly relaxing about watching a river flow by. 

On Thursday I went over to Breaks Interstate Park and took some pictures of the Russell Fork River.   It had been a stressful week and I really wasn’t in the mood to photograph but setting up my tripod next to the river I felt a sense of peace flow over me.  The sight and sound of that river calmed my nerves and brought a sense of tranquility I had not felt for several days. 

river abstractI realize that when God created rivers He had lots of other purposes in mind than just providing us a place to experience peace, but I’m not so sure that this wasn’t also one of His reasons for making rivers and streams.  I think God knew that we would need places we could go to in order to have our spirits renewed, places where we could feel serenity.  It really is no wonder that there are so many songs that combine peace and rivers.  They go together quite naturally.


(The images above were taken Thursday at Breaks Interstate Park in Pike County, Kentucky.)