Every problem that presents itself is a point at which we are to learn something.  These problems, or difficulties, are not intended to discourage us, but to awaken us.  If  we can remember these two things, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel...and not fear the arrival of a train...but know that we are experiencing an opportunity to grow spiritually.  The human spirit is strengthened through conflict.


The presence of difficulties has a tendency to rob us of that precious, inner peace.  The peace that eludes all understanding.  The peace that defies description.  If you have it, you know what I mean.  If you haven't ... well, maybe the following story will give you a glimpse of what my clumsy words are trying to convey.


There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace.  Many artists tried and the King looked at all the pictures.  There were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.


 One picture was of a calm lake.  The lake was a perfect mirror for the 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 second picture had mountains, too, but these were rugged and bare.  Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and lightening played.  Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall.  This did NOT look peaceful at all.  When the King looked , he saw behind the waterfall, a tiny bush growing through 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...a picture of perfect peace.


Do you know why the King chose the second picture?  "Because," he explained, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble, or no 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."


Until we find our rest in God, as we each understand Him, we will continue to experience an inner restlessness and a lack of the very peace for which our spirits long.


 I once heard that it was OK to have butterflies in your stomach (a lack of peace?); the secret was to get them to fly in formation.   I think that may be a 'tongue-in-cheek' way of promoting inner peace.


 Trials and tribulations are a fact of life.  It is our response that counts.


 Remember, that peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.  Make this a loving and peaceful day today.  Let nothing, nor anyone, rob you of the peace that is rightfully yours.