“There are two realities to which you must cling. First, God has promised that you will receive the love you have been searching for. And Second, God is faithful to that promise.”[1]

I think the thing I like most about this phrase by Henri Nouwen is how straightforward it is. He cuts right to the chase and draws us right to trust and love, which is where rest comes from.

He continues: “So stop wandering around. Instead, come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. Your whole life you have been running about, seeking the love you desire. Now it’s time to end that search. Trust that God will give you that all-fulfilling love and will give it in a human way. Before you die, God will offer you the deepest satisfaction you can desire. Just stop running and start receiving.”[2]

When I read this, my first thought was, “Well, that’s easier said than done! How do you expect me to just suddenly believe and trust that I’m going to be given what I need?” Don’t get me wrong, I like what he said, but I don’t move that quickly.

I do run around looking for anything and everything to satisfy and bring rest to my soul, though. And usually, if not totally, my frantic pursuit is anything but restful. Just like when I get on a plane, I worry about all the things that will or could go wrong. So, I spend time and energy looking for all the logical reason’s everything will work out ok, even though, in the moment, I’m convinced they won’t. It’s exhausting. But Nouwen just pushes past all the worrying fluff and the concern over circumstance, pointing a spotlight at the real battle and the source of true rest: love and trust.

“Home is where you are truly safe. It is where you can receive what you desire. You need human hands to hold you there so you don’t run away again. But when you come home and stay home, you will find the love that will bring rest to your heart.”[3]

His final paragraph, I believe, tempers the blunt-ness of his previous statements with the freedom of process. I can’t rest on command, and both Henri and God know that. But I can remind myself of the things I know of God and the things He has said to me. That He loves me. That He’s doing good things in and around me. That He’s watching and He’s not passive. And in the middle of that process — the remembering — I might find something of the rest He offers. And something in me begins to relax, despite the circumstances. In the practice of remembering, of coming back to what I know, I begin to trust in the love I’ve been promised, and I begin to find rest in that.

[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love : A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom (New York, New York: Random House Inc., 1996), 12.

[2] Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love : A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, 12.

[3] Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love : A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, 12.


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Unexpected Rest
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