Last weekend we took a drive out to my brother’s home in Winchester, VA. The ride in itself is peaceful, and I always enjoy seeing the hillsides dotted with dairy cows and sheep along the way. As we crossed over the Shenandoah River, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains came into view, revealing the slightest hint of fall colors beginning to show along their peaks.
The highlight of my visit is a short walk down the winding path to a hidden gem, a treasure tucked behind a grove of hickory trees. I’ve named it Peaceful Pond, because that is what it is to me. Tranquility. Serenity. Peace-filled.
It is a tiny farm pond, probably only 6 feet deep at its center, and less than an acre in size, but it has abundant life within it and along the muddy banks.
What I most treasure is the sound of the pond . . . a beautiful melodic blend of birdsong and leaves fluttering in the fall breeze. It is the very sound of nature.
And there is an abundance of colorful wildflowers and weeds rimming the pond’s edge, with pink, purple and yellow petals, and plenty of cattails.
We’ve seen turtles and frogs, geese and Red-Winged Blackbirds. The pond is teaming with Largemouth Bass and Bluegill. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon casting and reeling to your heart’s content. And if you take time to look for them, you will also see the tracks of raccoon, squirrel and deer left in the mud where they stopped for a drink.
We all need a spot like this . . . a place for peace, a getaway when life becomes overwhelming, as it seems to be most days of late. It serves as a reminder that there is peace in the simplicity and perfection of God’s creation.
Yes, these are unsettling times. There is so much uncertainty, so much anxiety and so much stress. Behind our masks, there is fear and anguish. We have lost our way and we each need to find a place of peace.
I am reminded of a verse from the prophet Isaiah:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” — Isaiah 26:3
Where can we find “perfect peace”? Is there such a thing?
When I find myself lately being drawn into despair, I turn my thoughts back to Jesus, my Rock and the source of all peace. It is a peace found not only beside quiet ponds in the woods, but in the midst of the chaos around us. His peace is steadfast and ever-present. Be still and trust that God remains in control.