We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66: 12)
It may seem paradoxical, but the only person who is at rest has achieved it through conflict. This peace, born of conflict, is not like the ominous lull before the storm but like the serenity and the quietness following the storm, with its fresh, purified air.
The person who may appear to be blessed, having been untouched by sorrow, is typically not one who is strong and at peace. His qualities have never been tested, and he does not know how he would handle even a mild setback. The safest sailor is certainly not one who has never weathered a storm. He may be right for fair-weather sailing, but when a storm arises, wouldn’t you want an experienced sailor at the critical post? Wouldn’t you want one at the helm who has fought through a gale and who knows the strength of the ship’s hull and rigging, and how the anchor may be used to grasp the rocks of the ocean floor?
Oh, how everything gives way when affliction first comes upon us! The clinging stems of our hopes are quickly snapped, and our heart lies overwhelmed and prostrate, like a vine the windstorm has torn from its trellis. But once the initial shock is over and we are able to look up and say, “It is the Lord” (John 21: 7), faith begins to lift our shattered hopes once more and securely binds them to the feet of God. And the final result is confidence, safety, and peace.
The adverse winds blew against my life;
My little ship with grief was tossed;
My plans were gone— heart full of strife,
And all my hope seemed to be lost—
“Then He arose”— one word of peace.
“There was a calm”— a sweet release.
A tempest great of doubt and fear
Possessed my mind; no light was there
To guide, or make my vision clear.
Dark night! ’twas more than I could bear—
“Then He arose,” I saw His face—
“There was a calm” filled with His grace.
My heart was sinking ‘neath the wave
Of deepening test and raging grief;
All seemed as lost, and none could save,
And nothing could bring me relief—
“Then He arose”— and spoke one word,
“There was a calm!” “IT IS THE LORD.”
~L. S. P.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 190). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.