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Rest For Our Soul

I wonder if you have had the immense pleasure of reading Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic, ‘The Wind in the Willows’? Now if you are a fan,  you can join with me in smiling at the memory of the outrageous, but highly likeable, Mr. Toad. If you have not had the immense pleasure of meeting ‘Toady’, as he is fondly referred to let me just say that he is absolutely incorrigible, highly unpredictable, excessively volatile and forever restless for something new. He is never satisfied for very long.

Take for example, the time he decided, on the spur of the moment, to purchase a shiny new, canary-yellow gypsy caravan to fulfill his longing for travel, change, interest and excitement! Fitted out with every mod-con and convenience that money could buy, Toady persuades his two gullible friends, Rat and Mole, to traverse the highways and bi-ways with him. But Toad’s fad lasts less than a day and a night, before the passing rumblings of a high-powered motor vehicle captures his attention and heart and the caravan is long forgotten in pursuance of the next new thing.

Do you know people like Toad? Always looking for something bigger and better? They never seem to be at ease and content with what they have. Augustine said in ‘The Confessions’, “You have made us for Yourself, O LORD, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” Rest for our souls, that is what we all cry out for. We have been designed by our all-knowing Creator to find our true fulfillment in Him alone. Not in what the world offers, but in what our God offers.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus invites us, to come to Him to find rest and refreshment. The attractions of this world do not sustain us for very long. We flit from one thing to the next, alighting for a time here and there, but are never deeply satisfied with anything for very long. Inside is a longing for what will have lasting permanence. Jesus extends His invitation to the world-weary traveler. Piling up our lives with more things will never do. With each failed attempt, the restlessness of the soul asserts itself even more powerfully. We need to let go of the attachments and become attached to the One who truly sustains us.

J C Ryle recognized the immense encouragement found in Jesus’ words. “How cheering and comfortable are these words! Unrest is one great characteristic of the world: hurry, vexation, failure, disappointment, discontentment, stare us in the face on every side. But there is hope: there is an ark of refuge for the weary, as truly as there was for Noah’s dove. There is rest in Christ, rest of conscience, and rest of heart, rest built on pardon of all sin, rest flowing from peace with God.”

Even as Christians we grow restless. Looking at the attractions of the world, we quickly forget that lasting fulfillment is found in Christ alone. By resting in Him, we find our soul’s true rest. Are we convinced of our own inability to find rest for ourselves? Or are we still striving in our own strength to find fulfillment and rest in the attractions of this life? Let’s allow our restlessness or longing to compel us not to acquiring more, but to seeking Christ.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not.

If we do not live a life that satisfies Christ, we will never live a life that satisfies ourselves. We will never find true happiness in pursuing the things of this world or living to please ourselves but only in pursuing the concerns of our Savior. What is most needful for us is the guidance and provision of our Father. Nothing else. So can I encourage you, as I remind myself, to come to Jesus, learn the ways of Jesus and then we will find the rest that satisfies our weary souls.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget thee. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots. Grant me to know that I truly lie only when I live to thee, that all else is trifling. Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy. Abide in me, gracious God.’
(Resting In God. The Valley of Vision – A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions)

(Resting In God. The Valley of Vision – A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions)

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you. This is a great call to always to back to what really matters: Finding our joy and satisfaction in the Lord.

  2. What you share is so true. The latest gadgets that are there to draw our attention is like the carrot on a stick.
    Having awareness of this especially when in your youth is so beneficial to our souls and we don’t waste our lives chasing after stuff but have the real life that we dream about.
    Jesus is that anchor for our soul and He has everything in His power to give us the best there is in living with a peace and contentment that we can’t buy.
    We don’t need to be a ‘Toady’ a waste our lives persuading things.

  3. Jennifer,
    Great job with this article, lots of information along with a great message.
    Those Puritans really knew how to “connect with the LORD” their prayers and sentiments are powerfully moving.
    God Bless~

  4. thanks jennifer

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