Updated: Aug 11
Henri Nouwen, a noted spiritual writer, observed the following when he returned from an extended stay in Latin America:
What most strikes me being back in the United States, is the full force of restlessness, the loneliness, and the tension that holds so many people. The conversations I had today were about spiritual survival.
So many of my friends feel overwhelmed by the many demands made on them; few feel the inner peace and joy they so much desire …
There seems to be a mountain of obstacles preventing people from being where their hearts want to be. It is so painful to watch and experience. The astonishing thing is that the battle for survival has become so ‘normal’ that few people really believe that it can be different.” (Nouwen, 2002)
Nouwen’s friends longed for peace and joy. Is that the longing of our hearts? Or, do we long for someone to share life with; less demands at work; better grades; stable finances; success on a sports team?
Are we exhausted emotionally; tired of screaming and demanding children; trying to make ends meet; trying to get along in a broken marriage; not able to find time to remember what our hopes and dreams used to be, let alone trying to achieve them today?
What about our faith in God?
Ty Gibson in his book “Refresh” states:
God has been horribly misrepresented in our world, especially by religion which professes to represent Him. And what is the form in which this misrepresentation of God’s character exists? Doctrines! Belief Systems! Many people in our world are afraid of God, not because they know Him as He really is, but because of the false reports they have heard about Him in the form of religious teachings.
Ever feel brokenhearted? Ever felt captive to something or someone? Ever wished you could really understand what’s going on? Ever feel oppressed almost beyond your capacity to survive? Tired of trying to make sense of it all?
Jesus said that He came to heal our broken hearts; to set us free from what has captured us; to give us the ability to really see; to rescue us from what is oppressing us … No one is left out.
In the New King James Version of the Bible, in the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verses 11 to 13, we read these words:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Does this sound like someone we should be running away from? I’d say it’s someone to be running towards!
Do we know, or have we forgotten, that the Creator of everything wants to give us a future and a hope?
This is something worth thinking about. Maybe in the process we’ll be able to see who God really is, and how much He loves us.