The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)
What a magnificent verse! What a beautiful promise! He will quiet you with His love…
Have you ever suffered from restlessness?
Restlessness is a niggling itch, a faceless issue, an ambiguous frustration which cannot be attenuated or soothed or dampened. It is a tight, knotted ball of unease which we cannot quite locate or understand or verbalise.
It can sometimes feel as though the deeper we dig to uncover the source of this restlessness, the more intangible it becomes. Annoyingly, it is the elusive origin of our restlessness which further exacerbates the feeling of it! Restlessness and peace are diametrically opposed. The noisy fluster of restlessness cannot exist in the cool, tranquil stillness of peace. Truly, peace is a quietness – a serenity. Peace is an open expanse of quietness. It is not a lifeless silence but rather a restorative quiet. The quietness of peace provides repose and renewal.
The Lord your God in your midst…. He will quiet you with His love.
Read the verse again – read it slowly… He will quiet you with His love. When I first read that, I felt the mangled restlessness in the centre of my chest unravel and loose.
This verse reminds me of Psalm 131:2 which we read in the compline prayer of the Agepya, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother. Like a weaned child is my soul within me”. The soul is quieted because his needs are met. As a child finds comfort and safety in his mother’s presence and nourishing milk in her embrace, so the Lord’s love quietens the restlessness of my soul. The Lord’s love is the warm embrace that my soul needs to live. Even though the child is weaned and therefore able to consume solid foods, he knows that he is vulnerable and still in need of things only his mother can provide. This is why he seeks for her and is pacified by her embrace.
The question is, do I know that God is the only true sustenance for my soul?
By its nature, restlessness is a lack of rest. It is the continual longing and pursuit of peace without ever attaining it. Why? Because the restless person fails to go to his mother and his needs remain unmet.
Christ says, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Finding rest in Christ and having my soul quietened by His love requires me to:
- Acknowledge that my soul is restless and in need of quiet
- Recognise that the only source of rest is the Lord who is my safety, comfort and life-giver
- Humble myself and go to Him!