19th September 2023

The restless soul

 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

As a child I spent a lot of time alone. I roamed all over looking for something to fill me and bring me peace. We lived in an open area compared to the communities of today. There was a lot of space between homes and there was a forest preserve nearby. I never took the direct route to my destination; the creek that ran between the homes, the trees that lined it, and the forest across the road from our home all called to me. I had my places of play, but it was never enough; something was always missing and I was not sure what that was.

Do you spend time looking for something you feel is missing in your life? No, I do not mean your car keys or your coffee cup. As we age, we forget where we put things; it is a natural process, the knowledge is still there, we just cannot find the file it is in. What I am talking about is an emptiness inside, and nothing else seems to fill it. I see it all around me in another form these days; it is the mobile phone that is in most hands, a new appendage that has an invisible cord attached to it. We are always looking at it, always searching; if we found what we were looking for we would put it down more often. We cannot even have a meal together now without its presence coming between us. It is an epidemic of its own.

I learned much later in life that the emptiness I felt was only able to be filled by one thing; and that one thing was God and his endless love. God is near we are told in Philippians 4, his peace is near. I do not have to go looking for it. All that I searched for was made possible by the presence of Jesus in my heart. We can lose track of this fact in our busy world. There is the whisper of Satan in our ear saying that we are not enough, that God is not enough, and our own feelings of inadequacy brought about by the lies of this world, they can all bring us down. They can interfere with the truth of who we are and whom we belong to. We need to stay connected, as mentioned in Philippians 4 with prayers, petitions, and thankfulness to God. As we do so, God will guard our hearts, he will keep our soul safe in his hands, he will walk with us through the hard times, and rejoice with us in the good. He will fill that empty hole that was only meant to be filed with communion and oneness with God.

I had a restless soul without God in it, but he has now become my peace, my wholeness, my purpose in life. He has calmed my restless soul. He can calm yours if you are still searching for that one thing. Jesus is that one thing.

You have said, God, that you desire to not lose one of your children. I have faith that you have a plan to do just that no matter where we run and hide, and I believe that nothing will take them out of your hands. You have won the victory God, and now it is just a matter of gathering them up in your arms. We praise you God! In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Study by Anne Gillam

About the writer:
Anne Gillam is a retired Pastor in Grace Communion International, Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA.

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