Psalm 16 reminded me of a story…
There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. After much deliberation, he was down to the last two.
One picture was of a calm lake perfectly mirroring the peaceful mountains that towered around it. Overhead fluffy white clouds floated in a blue sky. Everyone who saw this picture said that it was the perfect picture of peace.
The second picture had mountains too. These mountains were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell. Lightening flashed and down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not appear to be a peaceful place at all.
But, when the king looked closely, he saw that behind the waterfall was a tiny bush growing in the rock. Inside 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. The king chose this picture as the perfect picture of peace.
The king chose it, “Because,” he explained, “peace is not only in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace is the calm in your heart in the midst of things the way they are. That is the real meaning of peace.” (A Portrait of Peace)
We all love the idea of sitting and relaxing on a beautiful beach somewhere or idly floating an afternoon away on a quiet calm lake but life is more like a journey on an unfamiliar road where there is a mix of sunshine and shadows and uncertain bends. You and I want life to be continuously smooth and safe but it often presents us with potholes and difficulties.
So, we’re invited to go to the One who is able to calm our hearts and give us peace even when the road is difficult.
David faced many challenges in his life and he always trusted the Lord to help…
Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have nothing good besides you.”
I will bless the Lord who counsels me—Psalm 16:1–2, 7–8 (CSB)
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
It’s hard to explain. I’ve had times in my life when I focused on my problems and gave in to fear and frustration, anguish and anxiety. But I’ve also had times when I immediately took a problem to the Lord in prayer and He reminded me that when He is with me He will give me everything I need.
And when I have “taken refuge” in Him I experienced peace in the storm.
Paul wrote it this way…
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
If the lightning is flashing and the rain is falling. If you feel like a waterfall of pain and problems is about to sweep over you. Pray! Find your safe place in the Lord. He is able to give you His hard-to-understand peace. The One who loves you most and best will give you everything you need.
A Prayer to Have Hard-to-Understand Peace
Father, I need Your peace. Life is full of peaks and valleys. Even when things are going well it can feel like chaos and confusion are right around the corner. I want calm still water but so often I feel the splash of the waterfall in the storm.
So, I’m coming to You trusting Your loving care . . . believing that You are the One who is able to protect my heart, mind, soul, and spirit. I believe You are the source of all things good in my life. You have shown me Your goodness and grace through Jesus. You redeem. You provide. You protect. You guide and direct. You hold on. You strengthen. You encourage. You give hard-to-understand peace.
By Your grace and with Your help, I will rest in Your care. I will follow where You lead. And I will live each day clinging to Your eternal promises . . . praising You for forgiving me for my past, for giving me peace for today, and hope for the future.
My heart is glad! Lord, You are all I need. I trust You to take care of me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Peter quoted the following verses from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:27–28
For You will not leave my soul among the deadPsalm 16:10–11
or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
And then he added…
David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow His body to rot in the grave.Acts 2:31–32
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.
We have received the gift of God’s saving grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. And it is grace that gives us hard-to-understand peace.
We can trust the Father’s perfect love because He paid the ultimate price to save us and make it possible for us to experience the “joy of [His] presence and the pleasures of living with [Him] forever.”
May you be blessed today with the blessing of God’s goodness, guidance, and hard to understand peace.
Artwork Credit – Rest
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