Restless — why it feels like the pursuit for God never ends

Song of Songs 5
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restless waves

Do you feel restless?

“I sleep, but my heart is awake…”

The opening line of my reading caught my attention this morning, and I believe it resonates as a universal sentiment for every human that has ever existed on this earth.

In the context of Song of Songs, this passage is not directly about the Lord, but reminds us of the void we all carry and the longing we endure throughout the course of our lives. There is no question that all of us have something we strive for, a perpetual, driving passion that never seems to relent.  We leap, we mourn, we stress, we get tossed about, and then find our moments of stability until the waves come, leaving us swimming and searching once again.

In this chapter, the “beloved” is anxiously waiting for her lover to return, stalking her room and the surrounding streets. She looks for the fulfillment associated with satisfied love — and not by any means sexually, though there are sensual elements throughout the book — and knows, in this case, that only one man can do something about it.

How often do we “long” in the same way?  It might be the idea of a blazing romance, or the comfort of family and friends, or even autonomy in labor — it’s all the same, really.  We’re looking for that one thing, and we’ll do just about anything to get it.

Now, the cheap backdoor response we enjoy using is that everyone is looking for God — every Christian will tell you this because, for the most part, everyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord is satisfied with their eternal position: heaven-bound. You can’t argue with this kind of spiritual quenching. The chief purpose of humanity’s existence is to worship God with our whole lives and to make Him famous.

But if you’re a Christian and you’re reading this today, there is still “something else” that you can’t put your finger on; you share in this sentiment of a restless heart.  What is happening?

Well, back to the Christianese answer: “we’re awaiting heaven”.  I believe it, but this is a passive stance, and the result is deterioration. God doesn’t want us to do that.

We’re supposed to move.

Think of it this way: what happens if we stop moving? I’m no physician, but I know that idleness leads to atrophy, both mentally and physically, and that  if we just sit there we’ll gradually rot away.  We have to move; it’s what makes us alive.

Many Christians are not moving anymore.  They’ve satisfied their spiritual needs through Jesus Christ, and they’re awaiting heaven, which is all great.  But then they head to church and “fellowship” for years upon years, developing a circle of other Christian friends, and, now content with their surroundings, they just sit.

We’re supposed to move.  This demands we are more proactive in the way we live our lives.  Why are we restless?  Because we have more work to do.  There are other people on this earth that are waiting for their “lover,” so to speak — their love is unrequited, and no one is doing anything about it.  And we cannot be of any assistance until we move, until we make serious, concerted efforts to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in a sincere, tangible way.

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