Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Storm


John 14:23-27
“The peace I give is not like the kind the world gives,” Jesus said.

There is a story I once read that just might help us more clearly comprehend the kind of peace Jesus is talking about:  One day an artist was commissioned by a wealthy man to paint something that would depict peace.  After a great deal of thought, the artist painted a beautiful country scene. There were green fields with cows standing in them, birds flying in the blue sky and a lovely little village lay in a distant valley.  The artist gave the picture to the man, but there was a look of disappointment on his face.        

The man said to the artist, "This isn't a picture of true peace.  It isn't right.  Go back and try again.  So the artist went back to his studio, thought for a long time about peace, then went to his canvas and began to paint.  When finished, on the canvas was a beautiful picture of a mother holding a sleeping baby in her arms, smiling lovingly at the child.  He thought to himself, surely this is true peace, and hurried to give the picture to the wealthy man.

But again, the wealthy man refused the painting and asked the painter to try again. So the artist returned again to his studio a little discouraged and disappointed; feelings of anger and rejection started to swell inside him.

Again, he thought about it long and hard, he even prayed for inspiration to paint a picture of true peace.  Then, all of a sudden, an idea came to mind and he rushed to the canvas and began to paint as he had never painted before. When finished, he hurried away to the wealthy man and gave the painting to him.  The wealthy man studied it carefully for several minutes.  The artist held his breath.  The wealthy man responded, “Now this is a picture of true peace.”  He accepted the painting, paid the artist, and everyone was happy.
           
And just what was this picture of true peace?  The picture showed a stormy sea pounding against a cliff. The artist had captured the furry of the wind as it whipped the rain clouds laced with streaks of lightening. The sea roared in chaos, waves smashed and churned, the sky was filled with the furious power of a thunderstorm.  And in the middle of the picture, under a certain section of the sea cliff, the artist had painted a small bird safe, dry and resting in a nest snuggled between the rocks under a ledge.  The bird was at peace in the midst of the storm raging all around her.

The above is a good depiction of the kind of peace Jesus gives.  Not an image like the world attempts to give, not a kind of peace where there are no storms or violent waves, but instead the peace of knowing that in the midst of turmoil and strife there is a ROCK which can shelter us, a place where we can be spiritually safe and secure, a place where we can live with peace and certainty on the inside while the world flails about in falsehood and fear and the outside.


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