Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Restlessness

“Our hearts are meant to be connected to the Creator of our souls, when they are not we are restless. Augustine of Hippo said, ‘You have made us for yourself, o Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you’” (p. 25, Beautifully Gifted, Angela Bisignano, 2011).

New Year’s Day we went around the sanctuary of the church, and each one of us pulled a scripture from the “Promise Box”. This was to be your verse for the coming year, and we all committed to pray the verse, and ask God to reveal Himself through it. The verse I pulled was Ex. 33:14, “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Five weeks later we were asked to resign.

My verse has been plaguing me ever since. Nothing about this year has been restful—from losing our job and ministry, moving to another county, joining another church, beginning my secular job—everything seems to be another level of pain and despair, not rest with one loss after another. I have felt like my heart has been a constant place of turmoil.

As I began reading Beautifully Gifted, I wondered, “Is this the piece of the puzzle that I’ve been missing?”

Throughout this whole season, I have continued to seek God, worship God and study His Word, albeit in a much different form. My heart has been hurt. I feel embarrassed to say that He has hurt my feelings. I didn’t have any desire to be a Job—I wasn’t looking to have a book written about me, or have my life used in deep theological debates about the love and provision of God toward those who follow Him. But here we are. And even typing those words out seems to be a pompous, conceited thing. Who am I, in the big scheme of Kingdom thinking, to even imagine that I would be considered a Job?

I keep hearing that we give too much credit to the enemy, and that many more times than not, we are not under attack from the Satan, we are reaping the harvest of our own stupidity. While I agree with that thought to a point, but when we are following the commands listed in the Word to tithe, to be merciful, to love and forgive, and everything is still going south, isn’t it safe to think that the enemy has something to do with it?

I have repeatedly asked God to show me what is lurking beneath the surface of my heart. Those things that I am embarrassed to show anyone; frankly, I’m too embarrassed to view them myself. But as each part of what I thought was my life has been stripped away, I have found ugliness hiding in the shadowplaces. Anger, rage, bitterness, fear—all reared their replusive heads as my world began to shake and crumble. With each new issue, some other sinful attitude displayed itself, and I repented as I saw it. How could I have so much still there?

But they just keep coming, one after another. So many issues, so many attitudes and emotions. Then I watched a video of “Wednesdays with Beth Moore” today. She said at one point that everything comes back to faith, and that God cares more about our faith than our righteous acts. Often we are confused about feeling like we are back to Faith 101 class in our lives, but that is because we always come back to faith in our walk with Christ. It is part of the process that God has in place; each level of our relationship with Jesus requires a deeper level of faith. So maybe the feeling of going back to Faith 101 means that we are on the brink of a new level, a new deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus that demands that our faith be stretched, and our spiritual capacity enlarged.

This gave me hope today. I’ve felt so lost and confused, like I’ve been trying to look through a dirty window caked with mud. I can see shapes and shadows of something out there, but I can’t quite make out what it is. Now I think the point is found in Romans 4:20-22. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness.” Beth Moore went on to say that there is always a “yet” when it comes to faith, always an opportunity to doubt. But when we choose to look beyond what we can see with our natural eyes, and focus with eyes of faith, we will not waiver in our belief of God’s promises either.

I’d like to tell you that everything is clear now, and I understand why God is taking us down this path. But that is not true. What is true, however, is that I’m more convinced than ever that God is working His character in our lives, and it is our job to cooperate with Him by choosing to believe in the promises in His word, and not what we see with our eyes. I’m searching for ways to rest in God, so my heart will not be restless.

I’m rewriting Romans 4:20-22 out on another index card, but I’m changing the pronoun from “he” (Abraham) to “she” (Judi). Want to join me in praying these promises this week, and see how God transforms our thoughts?

I’d love to hear how God is teaching you to overcome your own soul restlessness.

In pursuit of Zoe,