Over the centuries reflective thinkers and philosophers have struggled with deep urgings and longings of the heart and soul.
Great American thinker and writer from New England Henry David Thoreau born nearly 200 years ago observed:
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Even with all of our advancements in knowledge and technology, Thoreau’s insights still ring true today. I am still deeply moved by his final note about dying with one’s “song still in them.” Can you imagine a world where our songs—our new songs as the Psalmist put it—filled the earth with the glory of its music.
Long before Thoreau, God spoke through a young man who captured for many the very essence of this mystery when he wrote in his confessions.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
The great Church theologian and thinker Augustine rightly observed that the “restless” soul and lack of a song trace their origin to one’s search for meaning and purpose in life. To sing with all one’s heart—one must know and believe life has true meaning and significant purpose.
Augustine discovered this “rest” for the soul in His relationship with God and in God alone. God created us for Himself. He shaped us to know Him, to adore Him, to love Him, and to live in union with Him.
Most who wander this life in quiet desperation stumble along looking for “love in all the wrong places” as observed by song composer Wanda Mallette, who came to this conviction by studying the lives of a group of second grade children trying to find their way in life at such an early age.
The “restlessness” that haunts so many in our day could come to a quiet end at the feet of Jesus if one would only turn to Him.
One day, Jesus called to those closest to Him saying:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV)
Jesus understood the nature of life. He knew the struggles and longings of the human heart. He knew the mad futile efforts of so many looking for rest, so He called one and all to the true source of rest and a song.
As we begin a New Year, and jot the first few lines of the next chapter of our lives, I would strongly encourage you to begin and end this year with Jesus. He offers to you not just the rest found through a Sunday afternoon nap, or a vacation to the mountain. No, Jesus offers you “rest for your souls”—a deep abiding rest that calms the spirit and eases the nerves. A rest that will slow the heart beat, and send your worries into exile.
May this be your prayer: “Lord, may my heart find its rest in you and in you alone.”