One of the best things about kayaking in the summer is the wind that almost always blows on the waters we navigate. Yesterday was no exception, and after a particularly hot day on land, it was really nice to feel the late afternoon breezes that accompanied our journey on the river.
The wind kicked up some pretty choppy waters, and at first we had to carefully make our way. I recently capsized in a similar situation, so I tend to be extra careful in rough waves (Frances, as you might expect if you know her, is fearless. Smart and not reckless, but fearless).
We made our way through the moving surf, finding calmer water as we ventured into the main body of the river. Perhaps because the first part of the trip had required such keen attention and focus, the smooth sailing (paddling, actually) felt especially relaxing. The late afternoon sun was beginning to beautifully descend, fish were jumping in the river, a number of alligators could be seen making their serene and unhurried way, and the further we ventured from land, the more we could only hear the sounds of the river. We were also blessed with several V-shaped formations of geese flying above us, a sight that never ceases to remind me of Genesis 1:20: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly... fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." The birds seemed to be carried along with the wind, and probably enjoyed it more than we did. Well, maybe not.
In that day when we go to be with our Lord Jesus Christ, born again believers will experience a sense of peace for which we have no present frame of reference. We have peace now, of course, to the extent that it "passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Nevertheless, our entrance into the direct presence of our Lord and our exit from the world's churning waters will still our hearts and fill our hearts with the tranquility known only in venues where the soft winds of the Spirit blow gently and in peace. "He leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 23:2).
As we give thanks for both our present and our coming peace, let us recall its terrible price. The Prince of peace entered into the raging waves of the wrath of man, and even more, the wrath of God. "Some began to spit on Him, and to cover His face, and to buffet Him... we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God (Mark 14:65; Isaiah 53:4). A heart that had eternally known only the perfection of peace willingly entered into the foaming and turbulent waters of pain, sorrow, forsakenness and death. Indeed, to the degree we are blessed with peace, the Lord Jesus experienced turmoil of spirit, soul and body. We venture into still waters because and only because He ventured into the river of rage, man's rage against God, and God's rage against sin. Thus, the wind on the water that stirs up both the difficulty of troubled seas and the blessing of calm moments bears the dual message of our peace, and of its price...
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus... the chastisement of our peace was upon Him."
(Romans 5:1; Isaiah 53:5)