I don’t generally have a peaceful life. The only time there’s “peace and quiet” in my house is when it’s being shouted by Reuben (he’s just read a book of the same name). As you can imagine, it’s neither peaceful or quiet when he does that.
It’s been a particularly unpeaceful week and, for once, I can’t blame the kids for it. Lots of things have been bothering my soul and making me angry this week, from newspaper columnists advocating eating disorders to people refusing to vaccinate their children in the middle of a measles outbreak. It has made my mind fretful and jumpy. But today, right now, I have finally found some peace.
It’s sunny and warm in London today. The first day since autumn when we can go out without coats. And that’s made me happier. So after I dropped Roo off at the nursery, I decided to take Eva to one of my favorite places – Battersea Park. Here, under a tree by the lake, with a soft breeze and a snoozing baby…here it is peaceful. As long as you can ignore the humming of the lawn mower, that is.
When I sat down under my tree, I decided to look up a verse on my phone because sadly, regular Bible reading is something I am very bad at. But it was a great verse. In fact, it was two verses – Isaiah 43:1-2:
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.””
If we can really get hold of that message, what need is there to not be at peace? When things come to try us, God will be there. There is a place for righteous anger, but ultimately God wants our souls to be soothed. He is here. There’s no need to worry.
It’s easy to absorb this sitting in such a quiet spot – only one police siren in the background, a quacking duck and a plane overhead, but this is London don’t forget – but how do you do it when the noise is overwhelming? When kids are demanding things repeatedly that you could give them if you just wait one second? When the baby is crying because the 4-year-old has sat on her head yet again?
It’ll be tough, but I’m going to choose to believe these 6 words: “they will not sweep over you.” God is referring there to passing through rivers and how, like the Israelites in the Red Sea, we will not be drowned. But I’m going to take it as assurance against all the noise, demands and stresses the world throws at me – they will not sweep over me.
Let’s see how this goes!