Sometimes it lodges in pretty deep before we are even aware of it. Somewhat like a blemish that appears on your face overnight while you slept – you wake up and discover something is gnawing at you. Often the result is irritability, or perhaps a blueness of heart that attaches itself to you like lint from the dryer. You can’t quite define it nor are you quite able to shake it as the day goes on. It brings with it the fleeting companions of fear, worry and skepticism. What is this thing, anyway? It is the all too familiar presence of a disquieted spirit. Can I get a witness?
“Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” – Psalm 117:7
If you care about life, about God or about people then you have certainly experienced the occasional tossing and turning of your heart because you have been made a person of eternal purpose. What a blight this disquieted heart is to those of us who have been saved by immeasurable grace – to distrust the God who proved His commitment to us by dying on a cross. As if He would hold back the minor elements of life from us when He has blatantly revealed His reliability in the most precious of things. Truth be known, some of us just are not content unless we are experiencing a little discontent. If fully trusting God equals a life of carefree days then I humbly submit that few among us really trust Him fully. God has blessed me so extravagantly that it saddens me when I recognize how often I am suspicious of Him. I suppose I could try and lessen the sting of what I am saying by employing less direct terms but I feel the need to be brutally honest with myself (and with you) today. Many of us are the types of believers who readily acknowledge that “God Can” but falter when it comes to declaring “God Will”. We echo the words of the man in the Gospels who cried to Jesus, ‘Lord, I believe but help me with my unbelief.” That’s tough turf to dwell upon, isn’t it? We wrestle with theology meshing with practical life. We tout God’s grace but then limit that grace to the boundaries of our own merit. We unconsciously speak of His love to others but might live as if we are only slightly loved or even unloved by God. We encourage the one other person to us to take heart and look for their answer – for it is on its way! At the very same time we harbor a sneaking pessimism that God will not likely come through for us this week in our own personal challenges. Above all, we can be hesitant to make bold declarations about God’s willingness to be manifestly God-like through our lives. Our hearts hesitate to tell others what amazing things God will do…lest He not do them and we come off looking foolish for having proclaimed His awesomeness.
So Christians are shuffling their feet, stuffing their hands in their pockets and nervously darting their eyes while wondering if anyone else notices the conspicuous silence of the Almighty.
It occurred to me recently that God might be waiting for me to edge out on the limb before He allows me to witness His greatness and pluck off the fruit from His sturdy branches. We can hug the tree trunk all day with the brethren but how many of us are willing to grab that lowest branch of promise and begin to climb? We want fruit, don’t we? Well…how much fruit can one expect to find while wandering around at the roots? No, if we want fruit, we have to slide on out upon the length of the limb – the fruit is always found by those who will go out on a limb. Those who are suffering from disquiet in their spirit might want to explore if God has allowed it to remain because they are living in their own strength. Any time we are trusting in self there should be the expectation of some form of unsettledness. It could be as extreme as panic attacks or as mild as a smoldering dread. The result may be seen in depressed and fatalistic paralysis or overexertion of non-stop effort to try to handle things. I don’t know if anyone out there is relating but I have to confess that I am sometimes weary of Jeff Lyle. I want to experience more of Jesus. Jeff Lyle is so 1993 and I’m learning that he has little to offer himself or the world around him. Jesus Christ? Well He is an altogether different entity. When Christ is in focus, there is a zero tolerance policy for the intrusion of disquiet. Dread knocks on the heart’s door, Jesus answers…and nobody is there.
The Psalmist says simply, “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” To His inspired lyric I humbly reply, “Oh yeah. I forgot that for a bit. I guess I’ll honor Him by refusing to fret today.”
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