I was restless last night. It’s not that I didn’t sleep, it’s just that I woke up a lot and each section of sleep was short, punctuated by much tossing and turning. Sometimes sleep can be like that, for all sorts of reasons. The word restless was very much on my mind as I got up and showered.
St Augustine famously said, ‘our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you, O God.’ Followers of Jesus know too well the truth of that profound statement, that there’s a settling down – a stillness – that comes to our hearts as we welcome Christ into our lives. But that doesn’t mean all restlessness stops. Because another kind of unsettled-ness begins, as we want to see God’s kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven. Bono summed it up brilliantly when he sang ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’.
So there are two kinds of restlessness. But both come from the Spirit of God, awakening our souls to reality.
The world is full of restlessness. Restless souls seeking peace.
The stories of Advent remind us that this has always been the case. It’s why Zechariah’s song speaks so simply but powerfully into our day for it tells of One who ‘will come to us … to guide our feet into the path of peace’ (Luke 1:78-79). That’s what the world needs. That’s what we all need. And it comes through Jesus Christ.
Christ is the One who stills the restless heart.
Who can you pray for today, who’s heart needs rest in Christ? Is the Spirit giving you a new restlessness to see transformation in the world?