Frances and I often see alligators when we kayak, especially when we paddle the rivers of our area.
We feel no fear when encountering these powerful and fearsome looking creatures. Gator attacks on kayakers are very rare. Kayaks present too large a profile in the water to appear as prey (wishful thinking on our part, some may say :) ). Perhaps more to the point, alligators move in the water with a deliberate and graceful motion that always brings one word to my mind: serene. They never seem hurried, and nothing ruffles their undisturbed serenity. They seem, well, they seem peaceful.
Those who have never encountered alligators upclose and personal may question such a perspective. I assure you this is true, however, and I am reminded of the Scriptural truth that God's peace is often best known in circumstances and conditions where it is least expected. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah affirmed the safekeeping and purpose of God when threatened with the fiery furnace. David declared God to be "a very present help in trouble." Paul and Silas "prayed and sang praises to God" after having the skin scourged from their backs and their freedom taken. The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation while exiled to the lonely island of Patmos. And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself slept while the ship in which He journeyed rocked in the waves and winds of a violent storm (Daniel 1:6; Psalm 46:1; Acts 16:25; Revelation 1:9; Matthew 8:24).
The peace of God is said to "pass all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). By definition, this is only possible if the tranquility of God is known and experienced in unlikely circumstances, conditions, and situations. Our Lord's peace is such that we can know it in anything and everything as we submit ourselves to Him in faith. Surely we will feel the rocking of the waves and the wind, and our human emotions and sensations may be violently tossed. Deep within our hearts, however, the assurance that all is well unexplainably moors us in God's safe harbor as we trust Him. We must grow in our confidence of so great a miracle, revealed in ways only anticipated by those who expect the revelation of His peace in the most unlikely venues. As in the beautiful serenity of an alligator quietly making way in the waters wherein he reveals the peace of his Creator.
"O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom Thou hast made to play therein."