A story that has long fascinated me, is that of an old couple in the Second World War. They lived in London, during the time when Hitler decided to bombard the city everyday. Day after day hundreds of German planes dropped bombs all over the city and flattened building after building. Thousands of people died.
This couple had decided to put their lives into God’s hands years before, even before the war and had lived their lives trusting that God would look after every moment. When the bombs fell, they laughed. They actually laughed and their neighbours wondered whether the effect of the continuous bombing had unsettled them and decided to ask them the cause of their merriment in the face of such danger.
“The same God,” they said, “who looked after us day after day during times of peace is still looking after us during war. God hasn’t changed, why should we?” Like I said, this is one story that has always amazed me. A friend of mine, Raj, sent me another little story which gave me a picture of the kind of peace people have who put their lives totally in God’s hands.
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 had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror of 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.”
That couple who sat and laughed in the middle of the bombing were like the mother bird. The bombs came down in torrents, fire flashed across the sky, but they sat unperturbed, secure in the truth that nothing could harm her.
I’d like to end with this little poem by Elizabeth Cheney that used to hang on a plaque in my living room as a child: Said the Robin to the sparrow, “I should really like to know, Why these anxious human beings, Rush about and worry so,” Said the sparrow to the Robin: “Friend I feel that it could be, They think they have no God above, Such as cares for you and me…!”
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