Thursday, June 9, 2016

Guiding our Feet Into the Way of Peace

 For God to give songs in the night, He must first make it night.(Nathaniel William Taylor)

This was quoted in a Bible study my hubby and I did the night before I left for the beautiful New River Trail State Park in Virginia where I am treating my daughter and her new husband to a couple of days of kayaking, swimming, and horseback riding. We are staying in a charming cabin right on the river. This morning we go for our long horseback ride, and then afterwards, will attempt to take their new pup kayaking.
It is stunningly beautiful here. We are nestled between a thickly forested mountain behind us and the gurgling river before us. There is no one else within miles of us. I sat on the porch with my kids last night, watching the river. When Peace like a river attendeth my way.... Those words by the hymnist Horatio Spafford are some of my favorite. The line right after it echoes the quote by Taylor at the top of the blog: When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

The peace...and the sorrow must both exist for one to truly understand the other. Without the night, we cannot learn to sing in the darkness. It is easy to sing with an outpouring of joy to our Lord when all is well, all is lovely, all is just, and all is light. But the world rarely complies.

 It has been a long, dark season for me. I don't need to go into details. You can trust me on this. The cancer was just the icing on the cake. There were times I was certain night would never end, morning would never come, the sun would never rise, and peace would never wash over my soul again.

 But somehow, even in the midst of all the darkness, peace came. Not in abundance. Only in snatches, at inexplicable moments. It was enough. I understood something I would never have grasped when all was well.

 As I counseled a mama a few days ago to choose life over abortion, we talked about God. I asked her if she feared death. She does, like most of us. I asked if she could live forever, would she? She would. Like the long ago seekers of the fountain of youth, that desire is in all of us for permanence, eternity.

"No desire God gives you cannot in some way be fulfilled," I told her, "Or else why would He give you the desire? That would just be cruel. The desire for eternity can be fulfilled. It is fulfilled through Jesus."

Similarly, we hunger, we thirst, we tire, because all those desires can be satisfied. We would not long for peace if peace were not possible.

 It is in God alone that we find peace. I wish everyday were littered with beauty like my daughter with her new puppy, the lush mountain and river as a backdrop, tenderness, and love surrounding us all. But the mystery and key of our human existence is to see God when all is not as it should be.

Know He is always there, even when the night is darkest. If you listen to Him, and trust Him, yes, it is possible to sing in the night, but you don't know that till night feels like it will never become light.

One day it will be light again. This is the promise to all who put their hope and faith in Jesus.

Luke 1:77-79

77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[a] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

John 1:5 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.