On Friday morning in chapel we learned about peace which is the theme for the second week of advent. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Over the past week I’ve reflected on these words of Jesus as I’ve watched the daily news of seemingly endless cases of injustice, famine, conflict, and war in our world.
Author Catherine Marshall tells the story of a king who sought the perfect painting of peace. The king offered a prize to the artist who could best capture what peace really is. Many artists attempted their best renditions of peace, and the king, in turn, looked at all their pictures carefully. After careful observation he finally narrowed it down to two pictures that he thought were closest and decided to select one of them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for towering and yet peaceful mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Trees blew gently in the breeze with a few birds nestled in its branches. All who saw the picture thought it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which the rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But if you looked closely, behind the waterfall was a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest and there in the rush of angry water, sat a mother bird, warm and quiet in her nest. Which picture do you think won the prize? To the surprise of many, the king chose the second picture. “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace is finding shelter and security in the midst of all those things.”
My hope and prayer is that we will all experience “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) in the coming days!