I don’t remember why I was there, since we had a washing machine at home, but I have a faint memory of a being at a laundry mat as a child and watching the swish, swish, swish of the old glass-top washers. On the outside, the constant sloshing of water could almost lull you to sleep. But on the inside of the machine, there was agitation.
Agitation is the complete opposite of peace. It means to move or force into violent, irregular action, or to be disturbed. As I was praying recently, my spirit thanked God for His peace like a river. I paused after I said it and considered what that phrase meant. Isaiah said, “Oh, that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:18).
Rivers can be slow and tranquil, but they can also be rapid, harsh, and dare I say, agitating? Picture a coke can that gets thrown into a rapidly moving river. It’ll bounce around between the rocks, get caught up in a swirling current, and carried away. There’s no peace in that! Or is there?
Isaiah linked peace like a river to obedience. I have lived just long enough to know that not all obedience is fun. Sometimes, even when you know what the right thing is and your heart wants to obey, your flesh gets agitated and flustered (cue rolling of the eyes). BUT, just like the old washing machine or the rapid current of a river, those times of wrestling with obeying actually cleanse us of any desire to disobey and/or ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit who only desires to see us succeed and overcome.
One of my favorite passages is the opening of Psalm 23. I go back to it time and time again because of the beautiful picture of God’s presence, provision, and heart towards His children. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3).
The still waters. There’s a picture of serenity. And just like Isaiah, the psalmist mentions the impact righteousness plays in our lives as well. Isaiah said our righteousness would be like the waves of the sea, which is anything but serene and tranquil. Waves of the sea carry power. Rivers can look serene but there’s an underlying power within them also.
My point is to emphasize the ways the Lord leads and teaches us. It’s also a good reminder of how to follow peace. Sometimes our lives feel like the agitation of a washing machine or a coke can being carried away by swift waters. But when you know who you are in Christ and the love God has for you, it doesn’t take long to still the storm.Did you know God's nudging to obey doesn't always mean you were disobeying? Click To TweetSometimes it’s just God’s way of guiding you. Can you say into peace like a river? Our Heavenly Father cares so much about His children. And by His Spirit and through His Son, He has empowered you to be strong like a wave of the sea or a river current. Instead of life agitating you, what if God used YOU to agitate the devil? I promise this is His goal–and why He needs us to obey.
The result? Peace (and strength) like a river.