An Appeal to Restless Hearts

The Confessions of St. Augustine is a classic work from the 4th Century church Father whose name (Augustine) dons the title. It is part auto-biography, part prayer--in which Augustine emotionally and introspectively writes to God his journey from sin to eventual wholeness through Jesus Christ. It is the story of a restless heart, something I believe all of us who are human understand far too well.

Augustine's own story is not something he is particularly proud of. He recounts the sin and folly of his youth, mourning with much pain his: pride, arrogance, deceit, and lust. He does not make light of his sin or reason it away, "for a soul commits," Augustine says, "fornication when she turns away from you and tries to find outside you things which, unless she returns to you, cannot be found in their true and pure state."

So Augustine restlessly wanders from thievery, pleasure, intellectualism--hoping to find that ultimate rest in the things God has made, but coming up empty. Nothing can satisfy and nothing can give his heart that rest he so desperately seeks. Listen to the appeal he makes in His Confessions to those who might be doing the same:

Return, Sinners...Stand in Him, and you shall stand fast; rest in him you shall find peace. Where are you going to over those rough paths? Where are you going? The good that you love is from Him; but its goodness and sweetness is only because you are looking towards Him. It will rightly turn to bitterness if wrongly loved, He Himself being left out of the account. What are you aiming at, then, by going on and on walking along these difficult and tiring ways? There is no rest to be found; here you are looking for it. Seek what you seek, but it is not there where you are seeking. You seek a happy life in the country of death. It is not there. For how can life be happy, where there is no life?
Augustine here, wounded from much life experience, is urging and pleading those who may be walking in his wayward footsteps to turn back. For the prodigal to stop the destructive course of misplaced affections, and come home. He continues on:

But our Life came down to us and suffered our death and destroyed death by the abundance of His own life: and He thundered, calling us to return to Him...Sons of men, how long will you be so slow and heavy of heart? Now that Life has come down to you will you not raise yourselves up to live?
Do you share Augustine's restless heart? Are you searching for rest, but cannot seem to find? True Life has come to you in the person of Jesus Christ. He invites you to share in His peace, and compels you to look no further than His cross. As Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."


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