Wednesday, February 25, 2015


(Please scroll down to read the previous four parts of this series)

06 January,  JATIBONICO

We drove today to the town of Jatibonico where there is a group of believers in a Pentecostal church who are about one half ways through the training material.  The pastor is a young, perhaps in his late 20’s, and speaks almost impeccable English.  He has a great thirst for knowledge.  He has begun a tiny and very humble library in his little church that now consists of about 25 books and a handful of pamphlets.

Before he showed it to us he prefaced the little tour with an introduction.  “You may be shocked and surprised by the very poor quality and quantity of our books,” he told us in perfect English, “but we are very proud of what we have started here, and to us it represents great effort.”

This young pastor has organized a discussion group that meets one night per week where those interested come to discuss some topic of common interest.  They are not only about Biblical studies, but may be about things such as philosophy and world events.  The object is, however, to discuss these events in light of what the Bible says concerning theses subjects.

Our missionary friend from Guadalajara has known this young man for about a year, and brought him a text book to study advanced Greek.  The church conference to which this Cuban pastor belongs sees no reason to study all of these things, and I think this young man feels a little frustrated at that.  He believes a Christian should be well-rounded, so that we can bring Christian perspective to all of life’s themes.  He would like to study further in a seminary, but the level in which he wishes to study simply is not available in Cuba.

One of the men in the Bible training class was a professor in the local university.  He was a slight man and spoke in almost a whisper, so that he was difficult to understand in the background of the street noise.  He had been, he told me, a professor of philosophy; concentrating on the philosophy of Carl Marx.  But then he came to understand the philosophy of Jesus Christ, and that it was far more than just a philosophy.  The professor explained to me that “he was redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.” He has now abandoned his former subject at the university, and now teaches history at the same campus.

07 January - At the Hotel in CIEGO de ÁVILA

This morning I sit with my morning coffee by a window in the restaurant of our hotel.  Today we are to return to Havana and then back to Mexico.  As I sit here watching the steam rise up off of the coffee, I am looking out the window at a small group of soldiers smoking and laughing and cleaning their guns.  In the background I hear the whistle of a train.  From what the engineer told me of his schedule the day before yesterday, I believe it to be his – the same
40 year old Soviet train.

This trip has been, for me, a very broadening experience.  I am always amazed to see what God is doing, and He is doing great things in Cuba.  It is an island in transition.  It is still a Communist regime; there is no doubt about that. The Revolution continues, to which the soldiers outside my window will attest, and which is declared by numerous billboards along the highways, (“We Need More Rebels, We Need More Revolution”).

But it seems the sound of repression against the church of Jesus Christ is more and more becoming a whistle out of the past, and the official atheism is being replaced with souls searching for God.  The church here, I think, is seeing growth like very few places in the world.  To me it has been a great privilege to know some of these brothers and sisters, and to help in some very miniscule way with their struggles.

What we are seeing in Cuba is more than a revolution.  It is a movement of the Spirit.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


(From my journal. Please scroll down to read the previous two posts, also about my 2003 trip to Cuba)

04, January:  ESMERALDA

Today we drove out to the town of Esmeralda, about an hour and a half away from the hotel in which we were staying.  In the church in Esmeralda, they have a training class which is in their 6th or 7th book (if I remember correctly). There are ten books in all.

It is a very humble church building.  They had a room where
they met, perhaps 16 by 30 feet, where they have packed in 100 people at times.  They had expanded this room twice.

This is a church of great dreams.  What they would like to do is to build a completely new building.  Certainly it seems the best thing to do, since their present building looks like if a strong wind could get in there among all the other structures of town, it would simply collapse.  But this is not an easy goal for these
very poor people.

There is a plot of land on the main road that they would like to buy “if God permits,” as they say.  Their present church is tucked away in a hidden part of town, and they feel as if they would be more visible to the rest of the town if they were on the main road.  The plot costs $200.

They also have started two or three house churches, where they are trying to establish churches in other areas of their own town or other towns.  The government puts restrictions on the establishment of formal churches, but there seems to be no restrictions on house churches, which they refer to as “missions,” since they are a work of their church.  The leaders for these houses of praise” are being trained in their training class at the church.

They also dream of buying a farm.  There is one available for about $300.  With the farm they think that they could raise food for the people of the church, especially the widows.  Perhaps, they think, they could sell some of the produce to aid the missions programs.

I was a little surprised to learn that it is possible to own private property in Cuba, one of the last of the communist states.  Starting about 10 years ago, one man told me, it has gradually become possible to purchase a farm and to sell produce to a cooperative.  However, very, very few have any money to purchase a farm, and another person told me that private ownership is really just an illusion.  In the end, this man said, the government still controls every transaction.

05 January, Sunday:  LA FLORIDA

La Florida is a town we have driven through various times on our way to make other visits.  Today we visited this town itself, and attended church there.  It is a church of about 250 – 300, and they fill up the sanctuary.  They do have a building project next to the church, which will be a combination classroom building and home for the pastor and his family.  The pastor teaches a BTCP class of 12 people from his church.

We arrived in La Florida shortly before church and went first to the pastor’s house, but we found only his wife home making some preparations for the dinner we were to eat with them.  The pastor and his wife had suddenly decided to have a pig roast that afternoon for us and all of the BTCP class.  The pastor, it turns out, was at that moment out slaughtering the pig for the roast.  He appeared not too late for the service and one would have never known the task he had just performed.  Given the event of the morning, it seemed appropriate to me that his name was Pastor Matos, but really he was a very gentle man who was more a kind shepherd rather than a matador.

After church we went to his house for the dinner.  It was very long in preparation since it is a big task, and when they told us it would be at least an hour, I knew that it would more likely be 2 or 3 hours.  My partner and I decided to take a walk.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many very old American cars in Cuba that are still on the streets all over the country.  They seem never to show any rust, although in that island nation I am sure they need to fight oxidation just as we do in the north.  They may not have to salt the roads in the winter, but the salt air from the sea is much worse.  We experienced that with our Ford pickup the year we lived in the Bible camp on the Gulf coast of Mexico.  Unprotected, metal objects would simply rust away.

But the paint and wax finish of the old cars of Cuba reflect the tropical sun with the brilliance of a new Detroit beauty.  The beauty is greater, however, because it is not the new and sleek beauty of youth, but the more graceful and dignified beauty of maturity.  I saw many 1951 Chevrolet pickups – a vehicle that is special to me because it was the vehicle in which I learned to drive as a boy on our dairy farm, and also because it was made in a very good year.  I also was born that year.  I think it must have been a good year both for cars and babies.

But the oldest car in town was a 1929 Ford.  It was parked
on the side of the street in front of the admiring eyes of the owner and his family who were sitting on the sidewalk.  It was painted bright red.  We could tell that they took great pride in it and that it was cared for very well.  “It is still plenty good to drive to Havana,” the old man told me.

Trains are also still used quite extensively both for freight
and for passengers in Cuba, so my partner and I walked over to see the train station.  Seeing again a train station was reminiscent of India to me.  No one selling chai though.  It was a little later that a train pulled into the station.  The engineer saw us admiring it and motioned for us to come up and see the engine. He showed us around and explained all of the controls to us. The train had come over from the old Soviet Union about 40 years ago.  He told me that it still had good power, and called it “a very fine machine.”

We wandered our way back to the pastor Matos’ house where the pig roast was going well and where the BTCP students had now gathered.  I think it was probably about 4:00 when we began to eat.  All of us, by this time, were quite hungry, and the food was very delicious.  After the meal we retired to a front room where we sat in a tight circle and answered some of their questions and asked some of our own.  It is a great privilege to me to get to know some of these servants of the Lord, and all in all, a very enjoyable day in La Florida.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


(Please scroll down and read parts 1 and 2 if you have not already done so)

From my journal
9:30 AM – Our small group boards the bus that will take us to the town of Cespedes, where the graduation is to take place.  But first we will drive a little beyond to another town called Camagüey. There we will check into a hotel and which will serve as center of living for the next few days. The drive will be seven or eight hours, traveling east of Havana.

I enjoyed the drive over the countryside of the island. Cane sugar has long been the major crop in Cuba, and I think that it still plays a major role of agriculture, but I see other crops being grown as well. I expected to see a lot of tobacco for the famous Cuban cigars, but the people tell

I did not get a photo of animals pulling a plow,

but here is the taxi that we hired in one town
me that most of this is grown in the far western end of the island. There is also some machinery for the field work, but I mostly saw a lot of animal draught power.

8:00 PM – The graduation at Cespedes.

I am little surprised how large the church is in Cespedes. It is not huge, like a mega church, but I am sure it could seat three or four hundred people. They tell me that this is a little unusual, as most of the church buildings in Cuba are very small, house-type churches.

The people in the church are very happy and animated.  This is to be the first class of the training program to graduate in Cuba.  It is a big event.  They have purchased cloth and one of the ladies of the church has sewed a graduation gown for each graduate.  They even made traditional “mortar board” caps, complete with tassels made from yarn.

I am also excited for them.  This night is to be the culmination of three years of studying.  These are men and women all have families, work, and ministries in the church. In addition to all of these responsibilities, they have also had to carve out several hundreds of hours over these years to meet together for class.

The graduation ceremony is very nice and quite long (as all services tend to be in Latin America) with much singing and a couple of choreographed dances.  The graduation message I had been asked to bring went fine, even though I had jumped back into Spanish only a few hours before.  I had written it out, so I could rely on the script to help me through.

The situation reminded me of another time that I gave a
commencement address, this one in Honduras. The difference was that the one there had been much more difficult to prepare and to deliver. I arrived in Honduras the day before the graduation was to take place. That evening, as I was getting to know some of the students, one of them asked me, “Are you giving the graduation address?”

“No, I am just here as a representative,” I answered. No one had mentioned to me anything about giving any kind of speech or commencement address.

The next morning, the same student found me. “I guess you have not been told, but you are the speaker,” he informed me.

I checked it out, and found out that he was correct. The ceremony was in about four hours, so I headed for a quiet place and wrote out a message. God helped me, and I think that it went well. People seemed to be listening, and I later got several comments to that effect.

But for this message in Cespedes, I had prepared long and had gone through it many times. I basically knew it from memory.

It seems to be a very strategic time for the church in Cuba.  The church is experiencing an explosion in growth.  We were told the story of one church of 500 people who one day had a service where 500 visitors also came.  The building only held 500, so the members stood outside to make room for all of the visitors.  At the conclusion of the service, 340 of these stayed to give their lives over to Christ.

The establishment of churches is very restricted by the communist government in Cuba.  These restrictions, I think, are less than in previous years, and at the end of it all, I am not at all sure if they are very detrimental to the church.  A government may restrict buildings, but it cannot restrict hearts of faith.

What has occurred is much the same as we hear of in China.  The flood of new believers with no places to meet has led to a sudden and rapid growth in home churches.  “How many?”  I asked a few people.  “I don’t know - thousands,” was the only response I received.

I also asked why Cuba is now beginning to experience such a rapid growth in Christianity.  Was it because the relative security provided by the once great Soviet Union is now gone?  Was it because the atheistic teachings of communism are not stressed so forcefully as they once were?  These were reasons that I thought seemed logical.  Their answer was better:  “The Holy Spirit is working in Cuba,” they told me.

Such phenomenal growth in the church here and the existence of so many home churches (they call them “houses of praise”) points out to me the importance of an uncomplicated and available system of pastoral and leadership training.  The training group that I work with presently has about 600 students in Cuba, mostly being carried out through a partnership that we have with the mission that I traveled here with.  Men and women are being trained to remain true to the teachings of Jesus and to carry out their ministries.  

And of course, the Holy Spirit is working in Cuba.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


(Please first scroll down and read part one if you have not already done so)

03 January, 2003

1:30 AM – We arrived in Havana about an hour ago. We are now at the hotel, which right in the city center. The hotel looks to be a very nice one, luxurious even.

As we were coming through immigrations at the airport, the officials were stamping all of the passports except those from the U.S.A. These they were just inspecting and handing them back without applying any documentation in them. I do not know the reason for this, but it seems not to be a problem.

Ahead of me in the line were some of the kids from my group. One of them, when he got to the desk, requested an immigration stamp in his passport; I suppose as kind of a souvenir. It did not go well with the official. He gave the kid a stern look and then a little lecture. I could not hear what he said but I decided I would not ask for my passport to be stamped.

I am now able to lay myself down in a bed for sleep.  It has been 22½ hours since my alarm clock woke me up early yesterday morning. I guess that was not bad.

7:00 AM – I slept very soundly and feel great this morning. We have a couple of hours before we need to get on the bus to drive out to eastern Cuba.  I see no sign of anyone else of our group in the hotel, so I think I will take the opportunity to take a walk through the old part of Havana.

The old part of the city is right outside the doors of the
hotel.  We are on an avenue named “Prado.”  The old capitol building, which was built from the same blueprints as our own in Washington D.C. is just up the road. As I understand, it is no longer used for government offices, but had been turned into a museum. I think I will get a chance to go through it before we leave the island.

We are in an area that was once a favorite tourist
destination, and again is becoming so. The buildings are old, stately and classical in design.  The sidewalks are shaded with columns and arches that support wrought iron balconies, overlooking the street.  Along the middle of the avenue, with the traffic running on both sides, is a very wide (at least 25 feet) and tiled walkway that is shaded on
each side by a row of trees.  People sit reading and chatting on the benches – even at this hour. There is a man giving sword fencing instructions to a small group of young boys.
There are a couple of boys roller skating down the avenue.
One of them is wearing a Green Bay Packer shirt! A cheese-head in Cuba!

Much of the city has fallen into disrepair.  Concrete crumbles from the columns and empty windows stare blankly out onto a street that they remember from long ago.

I thought of an old and once wealthy man I spoke with some time ago.  His wealth had been long gone and he was wearing a suit that I could see had once been a very fine one. Now however, it was patched and threadbare.  But although this man was living in poverty when I was talking with him, he still exhibited a certain dignified air and
carried himself proudly. The city of Havana reminded me of this old gentleman. It seems to me that it was a once noble city that has become impoverished. However, I could still see dignity along the Avenida Prado.

Many buildings are now being restored, enriched again in some small way by tourism money.  As I said, the hotel where we stayed was very nice.  I am impressed also with how clean the streets are; not like many Latin American cities that I have been in where there is trash in the gutters and blowing everywhere.  Of course, one cannot help but notice all of the cars from mostly the 1950’s driving up and down the avenue.  The Cubans have kept them in
impeccable condition.  They are not able to easily obtain replacement parts, and have had to fabricate what they need. I talked with a taxi driver who also was his own mechanic. I asked him what they do when they need very specific parts, like piston rings. “We make them,” he said matter-of-factly.

9:00 AM – At breakfast back in the hotel, I meet a young
missionary couple who will also be in our travel group.  They are from Guadalajara, Mexico, but are presently studying at a seminary in Texas.  In the past couple of years this man and wife have made numerous trips into Cuba to work with the churches. They will be taking my partner and me to visit churches in several of the towns.  I later am to learn that this couple are from the same church in Guadalajara, Mexico with which Vivian and I worked for a summer almost 20 years ago.  We have in common some good friends in Guadalajara.

(More in a few days)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Cuba has lately been in the news. This prompted me to go back in my journal and remember the trip that I made there quite a number of years ago.

(From my journal)

02 January, 2003

The alarm awakens me at 3:00 this morning – “airport early,” as our son Levi puts it.

I am at our farm in Wisconsin. The first thing that I do is turn on the yard light and peer out the window.  I am glad to see that it is not snowing.  We have been waiting for a little snow because we have a bit of a lack of it this winter, but I do not want it this morning.  Vivian is driving me to the airport and I am glad that the roads will not be slippery for her.

5:00 AM – Our Central Wisconsin Airport is very busy.
Put in place at the beginning of this year, there are new security measures that I will need to go through today at various airports. This is another step taken since the terrorist attack at the Trade Center in New York. I am used to lines in airports, but now the lines are long and moving very slowly, especially for our little airport in Wisconsin.

Watching the line move is a bit like watching a turtle crossing a road.  You wonder if he will make it before a car comes – I wonder if we will all be checked in before our departure time.  It turns out that we are – and I have noticed by the demeanor of the people in the line that we Wisconsinites are a patient lot.

7:00 AM to 3:30 PM – A day of travel.
Waiting in airports and standing in lines.  The day is not over but I am getting closer to where I am to go.

3:30 PM – Arrive in Cancun, Mexico.
This is where I am to meet up with the rest of the group that I am to travel with.  There is a long, meandering line at immigrations.  I see a small group (6) of college kids talking excitedly and basically just being college kids. 

According to the information given to me about the trip, I learned that I was to travel with a small group of college students that were going as part of a mission group, along with a leader from the mission. I wonder if these students that I see are the group I am to meet up with. A lot of college kids go to Cancun, so it is a small chance, but something tells me that these did not come to lie on the beach and party all night.

I have to say that I am also pretty excited. Never in my life had I thought that I would be going to Cuba. It is something that Americans are simply not allowed to do – at least those from the U.S.   Canadians can and do go there. It is also a travel destination from many Europeans.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Castro government has been gradually opening the country for tourism as a means of income.  The tourists are mainly European and Canadian, but I am told that there are also many U.S. citizens that visit the island.  Strictly speaking, it is still illegal for Americans to do so, unless one goes for “religious ministry” as was our visit, and I believe also for other humanitarian purposes. In our visit to Cuba, we will not be going to any of the tourist areas.

There is also one more person that is to join up with us here in Cancun. He is a partner of mine from our pastoral training organization. The main reason that I was asked to go on this trip was to give the commencement address at a church where they have been having Bible training classes. These have not been “clandestine” classes in that communist land, but all with the full knowledge of the Cuban authorities. I do not know how difficult it is for the churches to function in Cuba, but I was glad to hear that there is quite a group of graduates.

7:00 PM – Some time ago, everyone in our little group met at a predetermined spot in the Cancun airport to meet and get to know each other a little.

The mission leader has come with all of our tickets and visas for Cuba.  I am looking forward to getting there and finding where I am supposed to sleep, since I am getting pretty tired. Travel does that to me. However, our flight is long delayed for reasons that are never explained to us. We were supposed to have left about an hour ago.

10:30 PM – The call just came for us to board the plane. Next stop – Havana.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


President Obama recently had some remarks during a talk at the National Prayer Breakfast that has set off controversy among the Christian community. He was speaking about ISIS, or as he always calls by their other acronym ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and either Syria or Levant).

Reportedly, President Obama called this “a brutal vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
After the beheadings and ritualistic burnings that ISIS has carried out in the name of their cause, few in the west would disagree with this statement (although, amazingly to me, there are some who applaud these actions). 

If President Obama would have left his statements at this, everyone at the National Prayer Breakfast would have gone home happy. But then he went on to ruin it for himself.

Just one breath later, the president added this, “Lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

This last statement was not received so well. Both Protestant and Catholic leaders have denounced these words, calling them anything from “unfortunate”[i] to “insulting” and “pernicious.”[ii] No doubt almost every sincere Christian felt some type of offence at these words, myself included. However, from what I have read of the responses of Christian leaders in our country, it seems that the offence that I felt was different from what most have felt.

Every one of the responses that I have read from Christian leaders in our country have dismissed the statements of the president as unwarranted or as unfair, and some have denied that the church was ever involved in similar activities. I will not dispute the claims that the president’s remarks were unwise, but I think it does no good to deny that horrendous atrocities under the name of Jesus Christ have indeed taken place in history.

I agree with the words of Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, when he wrote: “Mr. President — many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires. But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life.”

I have posted before about the Crusades, so I will not mention that again here, but concerning the Inquisition, the response from Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League was reportedly: 

Regarding the other fable, the Inquisition, the Catholic Church had almost nothing to do with it.

The Church saw heretics as lost sheep who needed to be brought back into the fold. By contrast, secular authorities saw heresy as treason; anyone who questioned royal authority, or who challenged the idea that kingship was God-given, was guilty of a capital offense.

It was they — not the Church — who burned the heretics. Indeed, secular authorities blasted the Church for its weak role in the Inquisition.

It really is beyond me how Mr. Donohue could call the Inquisition a “fable.” Even he must not really believe that it really is a fable, since in the same breath he denies a significant role of the Catholic Church in the Inquisition.

But lest I, as a Protestant get on my own “high horse,” I see that in history, atrocities against others have also taken place by various leaders and churches of protestant denominations. Do an internet search of “Protestant Inquisition” if you do not believe me.

I agree that the words spoken by President Obama were ill-advised and unwise and did not take into account the differences in historical settings and culture, but we as Christians do not make things better by pretending everything done in the name of Jesus Christ has always been well intended and pure. We have our own house to attend to.

One of the things that I have always appreciated about the Bible is that it does not attempt to whitewash the lives of those who are considered “examples of faith.” A very obvious illustration of this was King David, who is called by God, “The man after my own heart.” Yet the historical account found of him in the Old Testament does nothing to try and hide his pernicious (to use Donohue’s word) affair with Bathsheba, the wife of the faithful servant Uriah, and the king’s subsequent murder of the husband in order to hide his own wrongdoing.

Nor will we ever progress in our Christian walk if we do not come face to face with our own iniquities. If we continue to plead innocent to wrong-doing when any fair reading of history will say otherwise, we will never move beyond past lessons left unlearned.

[i] Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
[ii] Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League


Thursday, February 5, 2015


“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river”
Concerning the subject of peace, here are some words written by the apostle Paul to the church at Philippi:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NAS)

The Spirit River down below
our house is frozen over now

Despite this advice from Paul, we all know what it is to be anxious. We manage to find plenty of things in our lives that give us anxiety: health concerns, job concerns, family concerns, besides a host of other matters of life that cause us to worry.

When we are worried about something, it often does not help to have someone tell us not to worry. It is a bit like telling a river not to flow. Nevertheless, Paul tells us that we should not be anxious about anything and to be at peace.

In the end, we all want peace. But the goal of peace is illusive. Peace is even difficult to define, and how can we expect to arrive at a goal that we cannot even define? More than that, once we think that we have achieved some measure of peace in our lives, it seems that we cannot long hang on to it. Having a goal that is illusive and indefinable is not something that is conducive to bringing us peace.

Many people think of peace is what we achieve when everything in their life is going well. We all have many matters in our lives for which we seek solutions, and we tend to think that if we could ever manage to resolve all of them, we would arrive at a place of peace.

However, if we think about it a little, we can see that peace must be more than an absence of trouble and conflict, since even those in secure positions with seemingly no need to worry about anything are often very disturbed in their personal lives.

How is it then, that Paul simply tells us not to worry?

When Paul tells us not to worry, it is not the same as telling a river to stop flowing. He is not telling us that simple denial of our anxiety is all that is needed to stop our worry. He instead gives us some alternative activities. In fact, Paul tells us three things: there is prayer, there is supplication, and there is thanksgiving. These are, I suppose we could say, three steps at arriving at peace.

We might lump all three of these together into the single category of prayer, but there is a reason that Paul lists each aspect separately. In prayer we recognize and declare the sovereignty of God over all matters of life. This helps us in our anxiety because worry comes about when we feel that we have no control over any specific situation in life.

Actually, this fact is exactly true. If all responsibility for a favorable outcome from any difficulty depended only upon us, we would have good grounds for very severe worry. But in prayer, we are recognizing that it is not we who are in control, but the sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe. We acknowledge that we in ourselves are powerless, and that only God can help us in this matter.

Supplication is not a word that we use often in everyday speech, but of course it means asking for something. However, there is a quality of supplication that is not communicated by the word asking. We might ask someone for something, and if it is denied, we look elsewhere. If we apply to one bank for a loan but are turned down, we might apply at another bank. But in supplication, we understand that we have no other option. If God would turn us down, we have no other place that we could go. We are in a desperate situation.

Is this worrisome to you? Enigmatically, being in this desperate situation is the very thing that can bring us peace. It is not worrisome and instead peaceful because we have declared the sovereignty of God in our prayer. We are bringing our needs to the Sovereign Lord of creation in whom resides all power, and this Sovereign is looking out for our best interest.

By bringing our supplication to God, instead of the situation being worrisome, our reaction turns out to be quite the opposite. We are thankful. How else could we possibly feel since we have we have the omnipotent and sovereign God of the universe caring for our needs? It is when we realize that we are under the authority and protection of God that we can have the peace that we all desire. With this thankfulness, we enter into peace.

This is the specific kind of peace that Paul is talking about in the verse I quoted above. This is a peace that we can have despite outward circumstances. It is, he says, the peace of God. With the peace of God, the river in our lives that once brought worry does not stop, but the water of the river instead changes nature.

The river of worry ceases, and it is replaced by a river of the peace of God. It is a peace that will flow in all seasons.