There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
[Psalm 46:4-5 NKJV]
The picture of the river is often used in The Bible to show the action of The Holy Spirit; indeed, the Spirit of God — personified in Jesus Christ — runs through all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
I have been reading a book called ‘The Hidden Agenda: An Extraordinary True Story Behind
Colombia’s Peace Negotiations with the FARC‘. It tells the story of an American, Russ Stendal, who has worked tirelessly as a vessel to bring Jesus to the factions at enmity with one another in Colombia. His story is a truly remarkable one. From founding his own Christian radio station; publishing and freely distributing a new translation of The Bible to make it more accessible to people, he has frequently found himself in dangerous and life-threatening situations.
In this book, the third in a series, co-written by his daughter Alethia (a photographer and film-maker, who has written and directed a film about the conflict in Colombia, La Montana), we are shown how The Lord is working to bring amazing change in hearts and minds in that country. Alethia says:
I remembered something a very dear friend of mine named Anibal Hernandez had told me once while discussing the peace negotiations. He said, “Alethia, there is no good side in these negotiations. There are just two sides of things: the government on the one hand does bad things legally and under the premise of the law, and the guerrillas do bad things outside of the law, but both are as bad as the other. The only ones who have the possibility of doing something good are those who let God reign in their hearts. That is the only way justice and righteousness can flow as a mighty river.”
‘the only way justice and righteousness can flow as a mighty river.’ The Holy Spirit flowing — reigning — in our hearts, ‘shall make glad the city of our God.’ The story in Colombia is an inspiring one, but the reality is that such change, such miracles of forgiveness bringing peace out of conflict are happening everywhere that ‘God is in the midst.’
The psalm also tells us when this will occur — ‘just at the break of dawn,’ at first light, when what is dark sees and feels the changing that comes with something other than itself.
“It is good that man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD”—quietly wait, submit to the yoke, sit silent. All these are characteristics the world ridicules. There is nothing that so quickly reveals whether we are one with Jesus as derision. If we are not one with Him, we always want to explain ourselves.