2005-04-13

Peace Like a River

I was driving the kids to school yesterday morning and we were listening to a kid's CD with some "oldies" on it and "Peace Like a River" came on. For the first time I was struck by the idea of God's peace in my life being a BIG river. I pictured a rushing torrent that pours through my life, cleaning out the debris that gathers around the edges and in the corners of my soul. I have been thinking about that ever since. It's not that there are not things to worry about, or be concerned with. It's that God's peace can be powerful enough to overwhelm those things and wash them away. It's almost unfathomable to me.


Why? Because I admit that often, my "river of peace" looks more like this:



Even when there is not a huge crisis brewing, or storm clouds looming over my head, I can feel vaguely unsettled around the edges. Sometimes I feel a nagging sense of unease. I could be a professional worrier without too much trouble. The verse in Matthew 6 that says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" can be a big challenge for me.
Jesus made it clear that His peace is not the kind of peace we have come to expect. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 I am praying that somehow I will learn to let God's peace truly be a river in my life. Not a bog, or a brackish swamp, but a glorious, thundering current that I cannot even hope to resist.

Bertha

Yesterday we got a letter from Bertha. Her letters are always type-written neatly on plain white paper. At the bottom, she signs her name in small, beautiful script, usually in blue ink.

In the opening paragraph, Bertha shared how she prays for our family every morning before breakfast. Before her 40 minutes of exercises with others that live in the retirement home. Cheerfully, she pointed out that all the exercises are done in a chair; “since we are all elderly it is not safe to have people standing for exercises.”

Until recently, Bertha spent a good portion of her day ministering to a fellow resident of the ''lodge". Her friend's eyesight was so poor that she could no longer read, so Bertha faithfully read to her each day. Together they would have devotions and prayer. Afternoons were often spent reading ''many good books."

Years ago I remember meeting Bertha while on furlough with my family. We visited her in the "lodge" and she cooked us Chinese food in her small apartment. Bertha was a missionary in China, and then a dorm parent in an ''MK'' home where my Dad lived after his family left China when it closed to missionaries.

This is how Bertha ended her letter:

"This afternoon at 2 pm someone is coming to talk to us about computers. I am ninety-five years old and maybe should not think of getting one. However, I am going to hear the talk about computers. Following the talk we are served ice cream.

Do say hello to the children for me. Tell them there is a friend away off in Canada who prays for them each day."

I am really glad to have Bertha praying for me! This world could use more Berthas.