I try to pay attention when a theme repeats itself in my life. Yesterday at church the discussion was about why we often feel “restless” in our lives and faith. The topic came up again later in the day. Then a song from singer/songwriter Audrey Assad randomly cycled up on my iPod during the morning walk. The song was called “Restless”. Hmmm. Since God generally doesn’t resort to burning bushes these days I wondered if there might be some attempt here to get my attention.
The lyrics and the melodic voice of Assad spoke to my heart and reminded me of a consistent need in my journey. Recently I have felt unsettled. Distracted. A little frustrated. Restless. There was no obvious cause for my malaise. But something was amiss in my faith walk with Christ. Assad’s lyrics hit home.
I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
Oh God, I wanna rest in You
In an interview conducted by newtuesday.com Assad explained the genesis of the song.
“I co-wrote the song with Matt Maher, and it comes from St. Augustine’s Confessions, in particular his famous line, “our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” We could barely sing it that afternoon without bursting into tears. There’s something about that statement that feels primordial—as though all of humanity has been singing it throughout the centuries in some form or another.
I always point back to U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Even people of faith, if we are completely and soul-searchingly honest, surely must admit that even if we believe, there are some ways in which our hearts are never at rest.”
David wrote a similar lament in Psalm 62.
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
The last part of the passage is just not likely unless you trust the other truths. First you rest in God, know your salvation is from God, trust your foundation is in God and that your fortress is God. THEN you will not be shaken.
Audrey Assad also writes powerfully about what is possible when rest in Him.
Oh, speak now for my soul is listening
Say that You have saved me, whisper in the dark
'Cause I know You're more than my salvation
Without You I am hopeless, tell me who You are
You are the keeper of my heart
When you are still and rest in Him then, and only then, can the soul listen and hear that whisper to the heart. Jesus talked about coming to Him to find rest.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Out of that restoration of the Spirit comes the ability to love as we are loved and give grace as it has been given to us. Resting in Jesus is not lazy faith. It is simply preparing to serve from a place of grace and humility.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence… (1 John 3:18-20, NIV)
I started the day restless in my soul. But a simple lyric and the gentle nudging of the Spirit reminded me to rest in Jesus. Music is one of God’s most wonderful gifts to His children. And a nice place to be reminded of His grace when I am restless.