HOW ONE PICTURE PAINTED A THOUSAND WORDS
Years ago, a hardworking businessman finally retired and wanted to take up full-time his life-long dream of being an artist. But the years of heavy labor and arthritis had so crippled his hands and fingers he was unable to pursue his dream. Therefore, he decided to have a contest for up and coming artists and guarantee the winner his full financial support to paint the masterpieces he could now only dream of.
So he rented a large auditorium and sent out invitations to all aspiring artists in the country to enter the competition. He announced a common theme for all artists to try and interpret in their painting, and that was, “Peace.” On the day of judging, along with several well-known art curators, he began walking down between the many rows of canvasses to see who portrayed “Peace” the best.
At one point, he stopped at the easel of a young lady to study her work. It depicted a scene high up in the Alps with untouched snow filling the valley, and a small cloud seemingly snared by the apex of the highest peak; as the sun shining through the pure air glistened off the undisturbed mountain landscape. With a smile on his face, he asked the young lady, “What do you call this painting?” “Peace on the Mountain,” she replied.
He walked on and after a while came to a portrait done by a young man. As his eyes examined the canvass, he saw a beautiful vale with knee-high grass, blossoming flowers, and trees full of fruit; several deer were drinking from a slow-moving brook flowing through the lush meadow. In the background sat a beautiful vine-covered cottage with a wisp of smoke rising from the chimney. “My, my, what do you call this piece?” he asked the young man. “I call it, ‘Peace in the Valley,’” replied the young fellow with a gleam in his eyes.
As he finally approached the end of the last row in the exhibition, he spotted a watercolor created by an older artist that immediately caught his startled eye. He walked over to get a closer look at the canvass just to make sure of what he was seeing. There was a portrait of a wild rushing river white with foam, roaring through a mountain gorge carrying everything in its way. The sky was pitch dark and flashes of lightning emitted from the clouds with brilliant bursts, as rain pelted down with horrendous fury pounding everything it hit with ferocity.
The philanthropist was taken aback, and looking at the artist exclaimed with a frown, “The theme was ‘Peace,’ I don’t see any peace here!” The artist asked the gentleman to get nearer so he could see a scene portrayed up on the side of a sheer cliff. There he saw a limb sticking out underneath an overhang holding a nest on which a small bird sat chirping away as she calmly covered her eggs. “What in the world do you call this” the philanthropist exclaimed! The artist smiled and said softly, “Sir, I call it ‘Peace in the Time of Storm.’”
The peace of the world is to sign a truce between enemies who agree to stop shooting at one another. In other cases, it is separating warring parties to the degree they cannot reach one another with their blows. And in other cases, it is the silence that falls on a room after the arguing and name-calling have ceased. But the peace portrayed by this painting is the kind of peace that only Jesus can give. – Dr. Robert R Seyda