What is really important in life? What makes it worth living? These have been the questions that have impacted me as I ponder the events of the last couple of weeks. It seems to me that many people see their lives only in terms of ‘what they do’ rather than ‘who they are’. Thus if your whole life is wrapped up in your job, when faced with discharge, life unravels! There is a difference between how you make a living and your LIFE! There will continue to be frustrations and challenges in life, job stresses, budget pressures and family issues will not go away, the key is finding peace in their midst. But where do you find peace? Reminds me of a story:
“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 for peaceful towering mountains all around it. 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 and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which 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 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 – 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 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.”
I do not claim to be a prophet, but I can guarantee that the storms will continue, natural disasters will cause death and destruction, work pressures will demand more output with less input, and the chaos of the waterfall crashing around you will threaten your tranquility, but even in all that you can know peace. It seems to me that the bird is at peace because she knows that whatever happens God is in control. The Good Book puts it like this:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I will show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
What is stopping you?
Chaplain Ian S Whitley