“You have formed us for Yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.”
~ St. Augustine
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”
~ John 1:35-38a
Why are our hearts restless? What are we looking for? Sometimes, we don’t know. Sometimes, we only feel the longing for something else, something more, something deeper, and we have no words, or inadequate words. Sometimes, we know what our hearts long for; we long for deeper communion in the Spirit. We long for a spiritual life and grounding the tether us to community and sustain us as we try to faithfully respond to the needs of the world and cooperate with God’s good work in our hearts and in the world.
Yes, our restless hearts keep us seeking. It is also in our restlessness that we are found. Found by the One who created us in love, in the image of the Divine. Found by the One who, as Henri Nouwen reminds us, calls us beloved. Indeed, the Hound of Heaven.
I forget this, so much of the time. I think that it is my restlessness, my seeking that lead me to the heart of the Living God. It is true that my restlessness keeps me aware of my ache for God, and painfully aware of how I fall short in relationship with God. But I don’t think it is our restlessness and seeking that bring us into God’s heart. Instead, it is God – unwavering, steadfast, faithful – seeking us and enfolding us into the Divine Heart that brings us home and gives our restless hearts true rest.