Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do you know peace?

"'What do you know about peace?'" 2 Kings 9:18

Peace. The state prevailing during the absence of war. Harmonious relations; freedom from disputes. The absence of mental stress or anxiety. A treaty to cease hostilities. The general security of public places. These are all dictionary definitions, but they have omitted the one thing alone that can bring peace...God

We can know peace with God, (Romans 5:1), and the peace of God, (Philippians 4:5b-7).

I was listening to a message on CD one day when the speaker quoted probably one of the most famous "peace" scriptures in the Bible. The one I gave reference to above from Philippians.

"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."

As my heart thrilled with the expectation and hope of experiencing such peace, one woman, with resignation exclaimed, "I wish". The tone in which these words were spoken brought me to tears. Such defeat. Accepting anxiety as the inevitable and her lot, words were uttered in despair. She had given up on the possible presence of peace. This was an elderly, godly, Christian woman. A woman who had devoted her life to following the Lord. I hear her voice in my head yet today. My heart still aches for her loss of belief in God's promise. What did she know about peace? Sadly, nothing.

For those of you who know me well, you are aware that I struggle with many fears and insecurities, yet my heart thrills and gets so excited at God's promised peace. Worry is not my portion. It may appear to be my passion at times, but it is not God's plan for me.

God is asking us all today, "What do you know about peace?" Have you first of all met the God of all peace and surrendered your life to Him? And, if you have peace with God, have you experienced the peace of God? He desperately longs to be that peace to you today.

I want to close with a story I heard years ago, and I have never forgotten.

Once upon a time, there was a king who offerred a painting contest requesting the artists draw picutres of peace. Three of the best painters in the kingdom responded to the request of the king.

When the time came to unveil the masterpieces, a banquet was held and many people came. As the first painting was uncovered, the people marveled as they saw beautiful scenery of fields with the outstretched horizon as its' backdrop.

The king was pleased with the first painting and ordered that the painting be placed in the courtyard of the palace where everyone could see it. After this, everybody was anticipating the second painting to be revealed. Again the citizens and the king were in awe as they looked at the beauty of a sunset. “Peaceful,” the king uttered with a sigh. The king ordered that the painting be placed in the palace’s biggest hall where people of high importance always walk.

The king couldn’t wait any longer as he ordered for the third and final painting to be unveiled. Murmuring filled the room as the king was shocked by the image before him. Despair marked the king's countenance as he looked upon the dark clouds and raging storm of the last painting. The artist had captured the furry of the wind as it whipped black rain clouds laced with streaks of lightning. The foreboding sky was filled with the power of the furious thunderstorm. “This has nothing to do with peace,” he thought. But suddenly, he noticed something that made him leap from his throne and stand in front of the painting. As he smiled he said, “Place this piece in the master’s bedroom so that I will always be reminded of peace.”

What the king saw after he gazed on the darkness of the painting was a small mother bird with her babies all nestled under her wings, sleeping. Now that's peace. Not the absence of the storm, but peace in the middle of the storm.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal." Isaiah 44:2-3

post signature


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Ahhh! Peace! Loved the story about the paintings Joy!

Hoping that you are in a peaceful place of refuge somewhere today!

God bless!


On Purpose said...

Dear Jesus bring peace to Your beautiful Joy today in a way only You can! Amen

Pat said...

I loved this one Joy.
Peace! Isn't just an awesome word to even say! Thank you for the insights,

P.S....I also LOVE seeing my dear son "The Remodeling Guy" as one of your favorite blogs! How cool is that!

Laura said...

what a precious story, joy! reminds me of how He wants to gather us under his wings like the mother hen...

i'm having such peace this week, as we are on holiday. always, after, i wonder how to hold on to this feeling. it gets very challenging when i step back into life, but in HIm, I'm always there!

~Grace and Peace said...

Thank you, Joy. I also loved the story about the paintings. That is so true.