As we have discussed in A Restless World, there is one solution for the restlessness of a lost man; and that is belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless a man comes by the way that God bids him, he will not find rest for his soul.
Acts 4:12 tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Faith in Christ restores peace with God and man. Otherwise, “There is no peace saith my God to the wicked,” Isaiah 57:21.
So, is it possible that a believer can be restless? Can a Christian experience an unsettled soul through life’s journey? Unfortunately, yes. And it can be traced back to one thing: sin!
I hate sin! Don’t you? I hate the guilt and shame it brings into a life of a believer. So many homes are broken. So many lives are hurt. All because of the deceitful heart that is desperately wicked above all things. But lest we be quick to point the finger at someone else, we must remember that no one is above even the grossest sin. The flesh still lusts after unrighteousness. Like a preacher friend of mine says, “You can put a suit and tie on flesh, and it is still flesh.”
When we sin as believers, there immediately becomes a wedge between us and God. Pure fellowship is broken and life immediately becomes restless. But let’s not be too generic. What specifically causes unrest for a child of God?
This is the root of it all. When the right King is on the throne of our heart then we are at rest. The only problem is we often place ourselves on the throne that Christ alone is worthy of. This will cause the restlessness every time. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble,” (1 Peter 5:5).
Fear is a crippling thing in a believer. So many Christians live their lives engulfed by fears and anxieties and have predisposed themselves to think no other way. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
The fruit of fear stems from the root of unbelief. It is amazing how we can trust God with our eternal soul, yet we cannot trust Him with today!
Hebrews 4:3 says, “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
I believe one of the greatest stories of restlessness and discontentment comes from a man by the name of Ali Hafed. Ali Hafed was a wealthy Persian who seemed to have everything he could ever need. He had gardens, land, money, and a beautiful family.
One day a priest came and told him that if he had a diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase a dozen farms if he wanted to. Ali Hafed began to think. The priest told him, “If you will find a river that runs over white sands, between high mountains, in those white sands you will always find diamonds.”
That day Ali Hafed woke up a happy man but went to bed a very restless one. Discontentment had filled his heart, and a desire for more was now consuming him.
So up he went. He sold his farm, left his family with a neighbor, and went in search for diamonds. He searched many years through Asia and Europe without any success. His search eventually led him to Spain, on the edge of a cliff, contemplating the purpose of life. With sorrow and restlessness in his heart he took the leap to his death.
Oh, but the story does not end there. One day, the man who had purchased Ali Hafed’s farm was leading his camel out into the garden to drink, and he saw a shiny object in the water. Curious, he picked up the black stone and took it back home with him.
Shortly after, the same priest that had spoken with Ali, came to visit the man. His eyes immediately latched onto the black stone and inquired where he had found it. The man took him back to the stream, and there the priest brought out of the white sand many other black stones. Some stones were greater and shinier than the first. These stones were some of the largest diamonds ever found. This discovery would be called the mine of Golconda; the most valuable diamond mine in the history of the world.
Just imagine if Ali Hafed would have searched in his own back yard. He lost it all because he was discontent with what he had. (Summarization of a story from Russell H. Conwell, Acres of Diamonds [Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1960].)
Oh, Christian, who is restless and tired; God never wishes for you to be this way. Christ is the giver of rest in a restless world!
What a friend we have in Jesus All our sins and griefs to bear And what a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit Oh, what needless pain we bear All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness Take it to the Lord in prayer
Songwriters: Charles Crozat Converse / Joseph Scriven
For more on this subject, check out my book Restless: Finding Rest in a Restless World.