Where to Find Rest in a Restless World

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2

Are you quiet? When was the last time you were actually quiet and at rest within you? Can you even remember?

So much of our life is consumed with busyness, hurry, flurry, and worry. We move from one class to another, one deadline to another, one meeting to another, one responsibility to another – rushed and ragged from the constant demands on our time, attention, and emotions. Finding space, or creating space, to “be still and know God” is at a premium and feels elusive at best.

Psalm 131 is an invitation to move out into the real world of noise, longing, threats, responsibilities, brokenness, busy pride, and restless anxiety from a quiet place of deep satisfaction, sweet rest, lasting calm.

The psalmist describes his heart as contented with dependence and rest upon the LORD’s care and provision. It is unmistakably not noisy, not busy-busy-busy, not consumed with undone to-do lists; ambition doesn’t churn; failure and disappointment don’t haunt; he’s not preoccupied with thinking up the next thing to say, the next secret thing to know, and not consumed by anxiety and fear. Instead, the psalmist is amazingly, alluringly quiet, composed, settled, calm, and satisfied. Sounds great – doesn’t it?

One of the first movies that I remember going to see in the theater with my family is “Chariots of Fire”. It tells the stories of two Olympic runners: Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, and in telling their stories of competing in the 1936 Olympic Games, it contrasts their different motivations for running and competing.

Liddell, a Christian from Scotland, discloses the motive for his running, “God has made me fast . . . and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” Abrahams describes, rather honestly, his experience and motive for running: “When the gun goes off, I have 10 lonely seconds to justify my existence. But will I?”

Liddell runs from a settled place of acceptance, assurance, pleasure, and joy. Abrahams runs in order to create a truth about himself, from a place of radically insecure, unsettled existence, and hoping to bring in a verdict about himself that will “justify his existence”.

Psalm 131 is an invitation to move out into the real world of not from a position of “10 lonely seconds to justify your existence” but from a position of assurance in the LORD’s kept promises that give us rest and pleasure.

Sinclair Ferguson writes: “The person who knows that she is justified is a person of unbounded confidence and assurance. She knows that none of her failures can ever overturn the divine verdict. It is guaranteed and settled in heaven forever.”

The verdict is in! Accept the invitation of Psalm 131 to live like it and enjoy the sweet rest of God’s grace in the midst of this seemingly restless world.

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