Wednesday, January 9, 2002
Years ago a major art gallery sponsored a competition for painters. They were offering prizes for the best painting on the subject of "Peace." As attenders browsed through the entries, most had decided that a one certain painting was almost sure to win. It portrayed this lush green pasture under a vivid blue sky, with the cows grazing lazily and a little boy walking through the grass with his fishing pole over his shoulder. It really made you feel peaceful. But it came in second. The painting that won was a real surprise. The scene was the ocean in a violent storm. The sky was ominous, the lightning was cutting across the sky, and the waves were crashing into the rock walls of the cliffs by the shore. No peace. But you had to look twice to understand what was going on. There, about halfway up the cliff, was a birds' nest, tucked into a tiny hollow in the rock. A mother bird was sitting on that nest - with her little babies, tucked underneath her, sleeping soundly. That was peace!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Peace in the Midst of the Storm."
Now that was the title of the prize-winning painting - and rightly so. Because peace is not just the absence of a storm - it is peace in the middle of the storm. The kind of peace many of us could use right now -- the kind of peace that you can have right now. If you're resting where you ought to be.
As our headlines have become dominated with new dangers - as so many hearts have been struggling with new anxieties, new fears - we're ready for the incredible peace offered in Psalm 46. I call it "Good News for Troubled Times." It's our word for today from the Word of God. Maybe it should be our word for every day right now! "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." So, the more troubled things are, the more present God makes Himself. The psalmist then says, "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Everything's collapsing - things that have always been there for us. But no fear. Why? "God is our refuge and strength."
The psalm continues: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells." Where does God live today? In those who belong to Him through faith in Jesus. So this is about you. "God is within her, and she will not fall ... Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall ... the Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Then as everything seems to be melting down, God says, "Be still, and know that I am God."
Okay, turn off the news, leave those other voices, and get where you can just be with God. And realize that as long as you're in His hands, there's no such thing as out of control. He is still God and you are still His!
And if you have never given yourself to Jesus, the Man who died for you, there's never been a better time than this. With so much changing, with so much uncertainty, it is so great to know you are safe in a relationship with Him. If you've never begun that relationship, tell Him you want to today. And, if you will, let me send you the booklet I wrote about it called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it.
When you are nesting in the care of the Lord Jesus Christ, you can rest through any storm. You belong to the One who can give you peace in the middle of the storm.