Restlessness! When we were children it was not unusual for us to be restless. In fact, it was that restlessness that often got us into trouble. Never content to just sit and wait for anything, we would often venture out ahead of a parent or guardian just to get to where we were going more quickly than if we had followed. I suppose it is our nature to be so moved to discover and reveal what lies ahead without the interminable waiting that is so often connected with being led rather than leading.
I can recall many years ago taking a field trip to the Chicago Museum of Natural History with my 8th-grade class. I can still see the concerned face of our bus driver, Mr. Wagner, as he peered into the overhead mirror above his head, locking his eyes on the handful of boys who had restlessly invaded the back seats of the bus. I am sure that he was thinking of the several hours’ trip there and back all in the space of about ten seconds. Then, of course, there was our teacher, Mr. Griffin. Normally a strict disciplinarian in the classroom and in full control of the situation, the bus and subsequent tour through the museum offered us a perfect opportunity to circumvent any comfortableness on his part. The bus was no-man’s land and the museum, no doubt, would provide an “escape to the other side of the lines.”
As the bus got nearer and nearer to our lakefront destination, the spirit of restlessness increased with each passing block. It was as if each of us knew that a wonderful and memorable opportunity lay just ahead; an opportunity to be free, independent, even mildly disobedient. Such is the mindset of a thirteen-year old boy when freedom beckons. When the bus finally did arrive and the subsequent lectures were given about staying together and not wandering off, it was evident that there was a certain amount of tension evident in the faces of both teacher and chaperones. As Mr. Wagner relaxed, they took up the slack. They suddenly became the new platoon officer, possessed of all the needed skills but somehow vexed in the face of a new challenge, a line of restless recruits just itching to test, push and ultimately break free. Once inside the museum the game began. “Stay in line? Find a buddy? Don’t lag behind? Don’t run ahead?” None of these prudent instructions held much power over a gang of restless boys ready to move beyond the normal routine of school life and into the realm of independence and discovery.
Controlling that restless spirit was hard to do as a young boy. It simply welled up within us at times and there was little we could do to control it. It was a part of being young, being thirteen and being a boy. At times it was so compelling that we had all to do to control it at all. As Christians we too have a restlessness about us. It is a spirit of restlessness that takes us out of the norm and into a world filled with opportunity and discovery. We just can’t help it because it is the Spirit of Christ, His Holy Spirit. Once installed within our hearts, we are helpless to His pleadings and His longings. He compels us to pray, to intercede on behalf, to correct and to explore. When we are confronted with unbelief, He compels us to speak the truth. When we are shown injustice, He motivates us to intercede and correct. It is a spirit that resides in the grace and love of Jesus Christ; one that cannot rest until that union is achieved. Daily our walk is and must be so restless because we have a spirit that will not rest until it sees heaven. And, that’s a fair piece to go.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Owen Bourgaize on Oct 18, 2000
Recently I read the biography of Norman Grubb, a missionary in Africa and the leader of his mission for 30 years. I was struck by what he wrote: "At conversion we learned that we had not done what we should, but then we soon learn that of ourselves we cannot do what we should." We need the enabling ...read more
Contributed by John Hamby on Jan 8, 2001
“When the members walk with the fear of the Lord before their eyes and with the Spirit’s encouraging voice in their hearts, the church will be strong and will also surely multiply.” [R.C.H. Lenski. The ...read more
Contributed by Bill Prater on Jan 12, 2001
I read a story about Walter P. Chrysler. At the time he was a master mechanic on a railroad. He was 35 years old and he bought his first automobile with borrowed money. It was a $5,000.00, four-door Locomobile. The car was delivered to his hometown in Iowa and then towed to a barn at the ...read more
Is God Speaking? PRO
Contributed by Mark Beaird on Nov 2, 2000
IS GOD SPEAKING? James Hamilton writes: Before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food. Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses, and covered ...read more
Contributed by Timothy Peck on Feb 1, 2001
SIMPLE CONFESSION, PROFOUND FORGIVENESS In 1818 one out of six women who had children died of something called "childbirth fever." A doctor’s daily routine back then started in the dissecting room, where he performed autopsies, and from there he made his rounds to examine expectant mothers. No ...read more