Find Rest, My Soul

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2

As I stand before the Atlantic Ocean’s waters, even in tributaries that meet its vastness between the islands and wind their way through the marshes, I find myself gulping down its beauty as if it were possible for me to consume it.  There is a greediness I feel, as one desperately malnourished who knows this feasting hall is just a short stop, like Bilbo’s moment in Rivendell.  I want to stay, sitting before it in solitude without ever having an end to the opportunity, as it offers me the deep rest and peace that seem so elusive throughout the rest of the year.

I began this summer so tightly wound from a school year that was unrelenting in its demand of my time.  Truly, an overwound clock whose coils were a slight turn from splitting and popping out.  Such absolute stillness, lack of hurry or demand upon my energies, if available, were obscured from my view.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8

I find rest in God’s extraordinary creation, but rarely do I find it in Him alone.  This is surely not because it is not there, with Him, in Him.  But what is the answer?

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  Romans 1:19-20

The beauty, rest and peace that engulfs me in natural settings is merely the physical manifestation of God’s nature – the nature of Who He is and what the person and work of Jesus has provided.  Sitting before Him, like what I feel alone in His creation, I am free from the burden of any demand.  I am free to sit in silent wonder, just like at the beach, for no other purpose than to heal, to breathe, to feel, to be stilled and gentled, to become human again when all other forces conspire to make me mechanical.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matt. 11:28-29