a devotional written and sent to me by Tiffany Cole on FL's death row
"PEACE IN THE MIDST OF A STORM"
I remember reading about an art competition where the theme given was "peace". The artist who most effectively depicted peace in his artwork would win the competition. The artist gathered their paints, canvases and brushes and started working on creating their masterpieces. When the time came to judge the artworks, the judges were impressed by the various scenes of tranquility illustrated by the artists. There was a majestic piece capturing the brilliance of the sun setting over lush greenery, one that depicted a serene landscape of moonlit hills and another evocative piece that showed a lone man walking leisurely through rustic paddy fields. Then, the judges came upon a particular piece that looked almost horrifying and perhaps even ugly to some. It was the very antithesis of every other piece that the judges had seen. It was a wild cacophony of violent colors and the aggression with which the artist had lashed his brush against the canvas was obvious. It depicted a raging storm where the ocean waves were swollen to menacing heights and slamming against the craggy edges of a cliff with thunderous force. Lighting zigzagged across the blackened sky and branches of the single tree that was perched atop the cliff were all swept to the side by the force of the gale. Now, how could this picture be the epitome of peace? Yet, the judges unanimously awarded the first prize to the artist who painted the turbulent storm. While the results initially appeared to be appalling, the judges decision immediately became clear once you gave the winning canvas a closer look. Hidden in a crevice in the cliff is a family of eagles sung in the nest. The mother eagle faces the blustering winds, but her young chicks are oblivious to the storm and have dozed off under the shelter of her wings. Now thats the kind of peace that Jesus gives your and me! he gives us peace, security, covering and protection even in the midst of a storm. The psalmist describes this beautifully: "He who dwells in the secret place of the host high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty....He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall take refuge" (Psalm 91"1-4) There is no safer place then under the protective shelter of your savior's wings. It does not matter what circumstances may be raging around as David did in Psalm 57:1 " Be gracious to me, o you; and in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by" The new king James version says "Be merciful to me, o god, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in you; and in the shadow of your wings i will made my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. "what blessed assurance we can have today, knowing that even if destruction rages around us, we can take refuge in the Lord.
Please Note: Tiffany and I correspond and she asked me to publish this.