LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS written in 1876
Our world is filled with violence, terrorism, and senseless crime. And it seems to be filled fuller every day. How is it possible to enjoy inner peace when there is so much chaos going on around us?
Frances Havergal (1836-1879) – the writer of this hymn – was vacationing in the south of Wales in 1876; she caught a severe cold, accompanied by inflammation of the lungs.Hearing how ill she was, and that she might die, she replied, “If I am really going, it is too good to be true.” Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She did survive that illness, and later that year she wrote the hymn “Like a River Glorious” in which she pointed to the source of her perfect peace: “Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed, finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”
By drawing on 2 passages from Isaiah’s prophecy, Frances tells us how we can find peace. In Isaiah 48:18, God promises peace like a river. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah wrote: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You”.
In one of her last letters, Frances quoted Romans 5:1: “We have peace with God”. Then she added, as a note to her friend, “It is yours already, purchased for you, made for you, sealed for you, pledged to you, by the word of the Father and the precious blood of Jesus”.
The hymn was first published in its present form with the name “Perfect Peace,” in Hymns of Consecration and Faith, 1876.
It is not just peace that God promises, but perfect peace – perfected, completed in Christ.
Read this hymn, and – today – rest in the perfect peace of God, regardless of what might be swirling about you.
Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace, over all victorious, in its bright increase;
perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day, perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
we may trust Him fully, all for us to do; they who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.