I’m convinced that if he lived today, the early church father, Augustine, would like Twitter and I would be one of his followers.
Augustine once said of the God he worshiped: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
I love that quote. For one thing, it tweets. For another, familiarity can breed endearment: I hear the quote all the time, even if I don’t really understand it and am not sure it’s actually true- or at least true for me.
Because it would seem that Augustine is saying here that he was at least once upon a time a restless soul, too, but then met Jesus and found not just a resting place but rest itself.
I have often wished this were true about my own life. Some dramatic conversion that eliminates all doubt and uncertainty. A crisis turning point of sorts that finally puts me on some straight and narrow highway of the kind that the prophet Isaiah talks about.
But here is the honest-to-God truth: I’ve “met” Jesus; I love Jesus; and, I’m still a restless soul.
Which is to say that there are some days when I’m not sure I buy this God stuff, don’t know where I’m going and feel very alone.
It’s not that every month I change religions. You won’t see me shaving my head and joining the Hare Krishnas any time soon. The Scientologists haven’t cast a spell on me yet. (Do Scientologists cast spells? This is the only explanation I can find for Katie Holmes marrying Tom Cruise.)
Like Augustine, then, I’ve found a resting place. I’ve been a Christian since that fateful day more than a quarter century ago when as a little girl I invited Jesus into my heart, and to this day, Jesus remains the supreme lover of my soul.
I also catch glimpses of Jesus, albeit fleeting ones, every day. In people. In nature. In music. In the wide-eyed smiles of my children.
I see a crucifix pattern in this God-shaped world everywhere I look.
But my soul finds it hard to rest there- at this site where Jesus loves me and I love Jesus and I am caught up in God’s restoration of everything around me.
The other day my spiritual director asked if I had ever fully surrendered my life to Jesus.
I wish I could tell you that right then and there a light bulb went on and I got down on my knees and relinquished control to God, because it had never occurred to me to do this sort of thing ever before.
But that didn’t happen, because I had already “fully surrendered my life to Jesus” in more ways than one.
In several moments across my life with the passion of a lover I had asked God to ravish me.
“Do what you will with me, God.”
“Thy will be done.”
I had said all these things and more…but the “rest” Augustine speaks of remained- and still remains- elusive.
The more I think about it, I’m not sure total surrender to God is ever really “restful.”
But what do you think? Is Augustine’s quote true for you? Do you identify with the metaphor of God as a resting place? Why or why not?