Bob Tamasy: Peace: For Many, The Missing Piece

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
"All I want is some peace and quiet!" Have you ever said that? In turbulent times, peace seems as rare as hope, about which I wrote recently. Ironically, these days even peace officers are hard-pressed to find peace. And quiet? What's that? The barrage of noise surrounding us is relentless, powered by technology at every turn. We can't escape noise. As if we're afraid to be without it, we take it with us everywhere - on our smartphones, tablets and headphones.

Even if we succeed in finding quiet, maybe by leaving high-tech gadgets behind and fleeing to a remote setting civilization has barely penetrated, peace eludes our grasp. In this world, conflict and strife reign, not peace.
Troubled thoughts, financial pressures, persistent aches and pains, relationship conflicts, even random worries, turn our minds into churning seas. 

And yet, as He prepared to endure the most horrendous moments anyone in the flesh could experience, Jesus Christ promised, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).

That sounds great, but how can we find peace, much less sustain it, when circumstances conspire to keep us from it?

It helps to understand that when Jesus spoke about peace, He wasn't referring to momentary, idyllic states of mind. He used the Hebrew word, shalom, which captures much more than just calmness or tranquility. The "Prince of Peace," as Isaiah 9:6 describes Him, was offering something of much greater breadth and depth - well-being, wholeness, prosperity - that's available to an individual, a group of people, or even a place.

Recently I was visiting with a friend dealing with stage 4 lung cancer along with the aftermath of another chemotherapy treatment. He talked about "the peace that passes all understanding," as it's expressed in Philippians 4:6. Even though he couldn't explain why, my friend stated he truly felt peace in the midst of pain, fatigue, and his uncertain future on this side of eternity.

It occurs to me that this peace is the missing piece, the prescription for many people barely managing to survive, but unable to thrive. They're angry, frustrated, mentally and emotionally exhausted, fearing the next straw that might be laid across the proverbial camel's back.

Contrast such a mindset with the assurance of Isaiah 26:3, "[God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Search as hard as we can, wherever we can, as long as we want, but nowhere else can we find this "perfect peace" that's offered through the transforming, never-ending relationship with the God of all creation.

Even when we're enjoying a moment of calm, it's like a ship taking refuge in a safe harbor as a major storm approaches. Sooner or later, we have to venture back into the unpredictable seas, never knowing what lies ahead of us - but certain there will be more storms, perhaps even more intense than before.

That's the bad news. But the good news is in the midst of the storm, the Lord hasn't forgotten how to walk on the water. 

In 1873, attorney Horatio Spafford must have felt a kinship with Job. Two years earlier he had suffered major real estate losses in the great Chicago fire, and his four-year-old son had succumbed to scarlet fever. Hoping to enjoy a much-needed respite from his travails, Spafford planned to take his wife and four daughters to Europe. When an urgent business matter detained him, he ushered his wife, Anna, and daughters to their ship, the Ville du Havre, got them settled in a cabin, then sent them on ahead.

During the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 1873, the Ville du Havre collided with an iron sailing vessel. Within two hours, the ship had sunk. His four daughters were among the 226 fatalities, with only Anna among the 47 people rescued as she clung unconscious to a piece of wreckage. A cable sent to her husband read, "Saved Alone."

Spafford immediately booked passage to join his wife. One evening during the voyage the ship's captain informed him they were passing over the area where the ship had gone down. Returning to his cabin, Horatio scribbled down the thought that filled his heart: "It is well; the will of God be done." Later he wrote a hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul," based on those words.

Only with "the peace of God that passes all understanding" could Horatio Spafford find comfort and write that "peace like a river attendeth my way" while standing on a ship sailing over the spot where his children had perished. Truly, as Jesus said, it's peace "not as the world gives."

This reality prompted the apostle Paul, no stranger to turmoil and suffering himself, to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ, "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way" (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Whatever each of us might face today or in the future, may this be true for us as well.

- - - -

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Mitch McClure To Speak On "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  Pastor Mitch McClure will lead the congregation in a time of worship, and prayer on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Sunday school classes are available for all ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church To Celebrate Its 112th Church Anniversary

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church at 1115 North Moore Road, will celebrate its 112th church anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 10:45 a.m. The guest speaker will be Rev. Fred Houser. (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Fairyland PTO Says It Can't Get Help From Walker County Schools And Board For Cafeteria Woes

Officials of the Fairyland Elementary School PTO said in recent months, the Fairyland Elementary School cafeteria "has effectively been shut down due to equipment (which broke in June) and consequent staffing issues." The group said, "As it stands now, all food is 'satellited' in from Ridgeland High School to Fairyland Elementary School for all meals including breakfast, lunch ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Lee In A Landslide

The first time I met Bill Lee, the guy who is triggering a huge turnout of Tennessee voters across the state, I instantly liked him, admired him, and must have told a dozen friends that day we have the most exciting guy going to the Governor’s Mansion we’ve ever had. The best reason is because Bill Lee is real. His opponent, Karl Dean, is a Democrat and a longtime politician. Go ... (click for more)