There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror reflecting peaceful, towering mountains. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged, jagged and bare. Above was a dark and gloomy sky from which rain furiously pelted down. Running down the side of the mountain was a wild, raging river. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the King looked more closely he noticed a tiny bush growing in a crack in the jagged rocks along the river. In this shrub, a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest asleep …in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second 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 conflict. 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.”
John 16:33 (NLT) “I have told you all this so that you may have ‘peace’ in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I think Jesus demonstrated what it means to be at peace in the midst of turbulence in the story of His calming the sea. The Scriptures tell us that the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when they were caught in a terrible storm. They thought the boat would surely capsize. Yet Jesus was in the back of the boat, fast asleep. The disciples woke Him up and said, “Jesus, don’t you care that we’re going to die?” So, Jesus calmly rose up and told the waves to die down. And they did.
There is a lot we can learn from that story but one principle I take from it is this. There will always be storms and we won’t see them calmed until we first know how to be calm within. Peace begins with us. Inner peace can lead to outer peace.
REFLECTION QUESTION: “What do you do, (or what SHOULD you be doing) to experience peace in your life (despite all the circumstances around us.) OR What helps you find peace?