There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could best depict “perfect peace” in a painting. Many artists entered the contest. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only 2 he really liked, and he had to choose between them.
Painting a Portrait of Peace
One picture was a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains, too. But they were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning was visible. Down the side of the mountain rumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But wait!
When the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the 2nd picture. Do you know why?
“Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”
We don’t live on a stagnant pond
I think many of us would agree with the king’s words. By experience we know that the arena of our everyday life is not like a calm lake all the time. We don’t live on a stagnant pond. Life is lived on a calm lake sometimes, but also on a lake that gets choppy and even sometimes downright stormy. We can all relate to the experience of Jesus’ disciples that is recorded in Mark 4:35-41.
In this passage, Jesus and the disciples sail over to the other side of Lake Galilee. Two things happen on this trip: Jesus falls asleep and a storm suddenly swoops down on the boat. The disciples panic and shake Jesus awake. They exclaim:
“Rabbi, don’t you care if we drown?”
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed as well. We think our boat is going to capsize. And our attitude begins to be like the disciples’ attitude:
” Don’t you care Lord?” “Are you asleep?”
But it is not the Lord who needs to be awakened to our circumstances, as much as it is we who need to be awakened to the Lord. How does this happen? Philippians 4:6,7 tells us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Practising the Lord’s Presence
Practising the Lord’s presence through prayer and praise will guide us through the storms of life. We invite His power and presence in our lives when we learn to trust and worship Him in the ups and downs of life.
May the Lord grant us an attitude of gratitude and prayer as we journey through this world with Jesus at our side.
QOTD: Are we growing in our experience of Christ’s peace and power in the midst of our lives?