Resting in the Restlessness – SBS 2017/18

Resting in the Restlessness

Can I be honest for a second? I want to quit SBS. Not because the work is too much, or I feel overwhelmed (although I do feel that way sometimes).

It’s because I’m getting restless.

I am restless hearing God’s bleeding heart for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized in society, and having to sit inside charting for 8 hours a day. I want to be out getting my hands dirty. I have these dreams of how I want my life to impact others one day. But right now, all I can do is continue plowing through God’s Word and seeing more of His heart unfold through each book we have studied so far. 

In Jonah, God made His heart clear that He is for ALL nations, ALL people. His blessings are not for an exclusive group of people. He is for everyone who will come to Him. While studying Jonah, my heart was back in the Middle East where I did my outreach, kissing the cheeks of my beautiful friends there, feeling their burqas graze my hair, as we said goodbye after English class. Our God is for them. And I was restless. 

In Amos, God depicts Himself as a lion, roaring for social justice in His nation. A lion! Just imagine a lion for a second. Roaring. I don’t know about you, but I would do whatever that lion wanted. This lion is our Lord, and He wants social justice to be rooted among His people, to be what defines them. He wants “justice to roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (5:24). How beautiful is that?! Think of the most powerful rushing river you’ve ever seen. That’s how God desires justice to among those who identify as His people. I thought a lot about what that should look like in my life. And I was restless.

In Hosea, God’s people are rebuked for their idolatry, and yet God faithfully redeems the unfaithful who repent. Using the illustration of Israel’s marital covenant to the Lord, God shows His unwavering love for Israel, despite their whoredom to other gods. God is relentless in His pursuit of His people with His outrageous love. I thought about the idols in my own life, but soon we moved onto the next book. And I was restless.

In Joel & Micah, I was emotionally checked out with a death in the family, and I experienced the grace and support of my staff.

In Isaiah, a lot happens. Although it’s a big book, the overwhelming theme to trust God for both physical and spiritual salvation is clear. God makes a lot of promises to His people, and I would often wonder how the original audience would be perceiving these promises about a coming Messiah. Along with trusting the Lord, again, the theme of social justice is clear throughout Isaiah. Chapter 58 is one of my favourites as it addresses religious routine vs. actively participating in the heart of God, which I know for myself I am guilty of. God’s people can’t figure out why God isn’t responding to their fasting and God just rips apart their concept of worship. He doesn’t want their routine. Why would God be pleased with their fasts when they are oppressing their workers? Why would God accept their sacrifices when they don’t even invite the hungry to break bread with them? I was so pumped charting this passage; I felt an eagerness ignite within me to find a way to live this out. And I was restless. 

I know this school is shaping me for the rest of my life. How I approach the Bible will never be the same. But sometimes, the intensive nature of the school leaves little room for living out the raw, hands-on love for the oppressed that is commanded by our passionate God. 

Even as I write this, I am convicted by God that I am guilty of dismissing small opportunities to show love - and in that way, I am exactly like Israel and Judah. I am looking to the grand gestures, but missing the heart behind it all. If I can’t show grace and love to my classmates, how am I going to love the oppressed? Thanks for the reminder JC (and thanks to you, reader, for rabbit trailing into a little quiet time with me.)

As I work on loving who is in front of me, I still find myself impatient in the process of equipping. It is both frustrating and beautiful. It’s a building of eagerness, that I hope doesn’t dissipate, but only continues to fuel a fire for becoming a good representative of a God who roars for social justice and who does not excuse the willingly ignorant. So I will rest in my restlessness, knowing that I don’t wrestle with these things without purpose, but to be equipped to hear God’s heart for the rest of my life. 

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