The Restless Soul
There is a loneliness about a life that has not found fulfillment in God that is almost indescribable.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, I use the word friend in the singular because as I face these microphones I’m aware of the fact that I’m talking to individuals and you have your own needs and your own burdens, and in some cases your own heartbreaking sorrows, and your own hopes and your own fears. So we’re not a crowd of people. We’re just together one by one and I’ve just finished praying that somehow in these next few moments, the love of God and the wisdom and blessing of God might be real as we look into God’s holy Word together. Thanks for being there on the listening end. I appreciate you.
Look with me if you will at Psalm 107. There’s a key word in this Psalm that gives us a little insight into how we ought to approach it and it’s the word “then.” Verse 6: “Then they cried unto the Lord.” Verse 13: “Then they cried unto the Lord.” Verse 19: “Then they cry unto the Lord.” Verse 28: “Then they cry unto the Lord.” Then the last occasion when you see the word “then” is in verse 30: “Then they’re glad because they’re quiet. So He bringeth them unto their desired haven.”
I want to think with you about the different situations that lead to prayer and answer to prayer and fulfillment in your own heart as a result okay? Says “Oh give thanks unto the Lord.” Then in Verse 8 “Oh that man would praise the Lord.” Verse 15 “Oh that men would praise the Lord.” Verse 21 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness.” And Verse 31 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness.” So you have a combination of a pressure first of all and then prayer and then praise. Small thought here: God allows you to get into pressure situations so that he can show Himself strong on your behalf. The Bible says “Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you.” God waits until you’re ready for Him to bless you just as you wait as a parent until the time when your child can appreciate a gift that you want to give to him or her.
So God waits until we’re ready to receive His grace and God allows the pressures of life to come upon us so that He can show Himself strong on our behalf. Over in the book of Deuteronomy where we were just recently you find the statement in chapter 8 “Remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee, these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart and He humbled thee and allowed thee to hunger and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not neither did their fathers know, in order that He might make thee know that man doesn’t live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. He allowed thee to hunger.”
Now there’s a great deal wrapped up in a statement like that. Do you take a million people in the desert and they’ve run out of food and the babies are crying and the nursing mothers sense that the supply of milk that they can give to their little babies is diminishing, and fathers are just raging with impotent concern over the fact that there isn’t any food and no place to go and get it? You can just see a situation like that and at that point, it said, “He allowed thee to hunger.” And then it says “He fed thee.”
So today I’m talking to somebody who’s under pressure probably. You’ve got plenty on you and you say “Why should this happen to me?” Well the first thing to say is join the group. You and I are no different from anyone else. Paul said “We would not have you ignorant of our trouble that came to us in Asia. How that we were pressed out of measure.” That means I was getting more than my own share. “Of both strength.” That means I was getting more than I could bear. “Insomuch that we despaired even of life,” he said. “I got so much that I began to say “If I get anymore it will kill me.” But he said “We had the answer not in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead.”
So if you feel today that you’re getting more than your share and more than you can stand well join the group. All the rest of us have to face situations like that from time to time and we do by the grace of God. But do remember, beloved, the pressure and the sense of need are all calculated to turn you to God. They’re all planned to bring you to your knees in worship and in love and in surrender and finally in praise. That’s what the pressure’s for. God isn’t out to hurt you. He isn’t a sadistic God that delights in punishing you. He’s a loving Heavenly Father. “Whom the Lord loveth,” it says “He chasteneth.” And it’s out of love that God allows these situations that sometimes bring tears to my eyes or frustration to my heart. It’s only that I might turn to him and say “Abba Father. Not as I will but as Thou wilt.”
Would you remember that today dear one? God loves you and the pressure you feel is not something that is adverse. It’s not something that’s come because God has forgotten you. It’s not the result of God’s anger. Somebody wrote me the other day and said “I did so and so and so when I was young and are the things that are happening now because God is angry at me?” Oh no. No. God loves you and He’s not angry with you. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” And so you can depend upon God’s love and you can depend upon His perfect purpose and you can be very sure of this that when you sense the pressures of life coming on you they’re simply God’s gentle way of turning you to Himself.
Now with that as a background look with me now at the opening verses of Psalm 107 and remember that these sections hold together based on the two expressions that I gave you. “Then they cried” and “oh that men would praise the Lord” okay? He says “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good for His mercy endureth forever.” Stop here long enough to remark that you and I are candidates for mercy. Don’t ask for your just deserts. If you got what you deserved you and I would be in hell. Ask for mercy. “His mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy and He gathered them out of the lands from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way. They found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them out of their distresses and He led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city of habitation.”
We see in this passage the picture of human frustration and the chronic lonesomeness that there is in the soul until you find rest in God. “They wandered.” That’s the first thing. “Solitary way.” That’s the second thing. “They found no city to dwell in.” That’s the third thing. “Hungry and thirsty,” that’s the next thing. “And their soul fainted in them.” That’s next. You want to talk about that just for a moment? What is the typical human experience?
First of all it’s wandering. You may be ever so purposeful in terms of your career but when I sit down and talk with you apart from a consciousness of the will of God I find that you’re wandering, spiritually wandering in terms of your personality development, wandering in terms of the ultimate goals of your life. I say to someone “What is your goal?” He says “I want to make a million dollars.” “What then?” “Well then I want to make another million.” “What then?” “Well then I might want to run for political office.” “What then?” “Well then I might want to run for a larger and more responsible political position like the senate or whatever.” “What then?” “Well I suppose by then I might be eligible for a judgeship.” “What then?” “Well I suppose by that time I’d be getting on in years and I’d have to retire.” “What then?” “Well I suppose I’d sort of wind down and enjoy my leisure.” “What then?” “Well I suppose I’d have to die.” “What then?” Then there’s a silence.
Because the average person’s life is a series of wanderings from one situation to another. Is that true of you beloved? Well it need not be true. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let me tell you frankly. You don’t have to live a life of aimless wandering from one crisis to another, from one challenge to another, from one job to another, from one series of hopes and dreams to another, from one marriage to another. You don’t have to be a wanderer. Says later on “He led them forth by the right way.”
God can start your life out in terms of the proper direction. You don’t have to wander and it says “They wandered in a solitary way.” Lonesome. There is a loneliness about a life that has not found fulfillment in God that is almost indescribable. Those of you who’ve lived a while know that you can be very lonesome even in a crowd. You get down to Times Square on New Year’s Eve and you’re there with a million people more or less being jostled about. Everybody is either genuinely or artificially happy and you are with other human beings by the multiplied thousands. How do you feel abut it? Well inevitably you’re going to feel very much alone. Why?
Well that’s because that’s just the way the human spirit is. Your soul is restless until it finds rest in God. There is a God-shaped vacuum, someone has said, in your heart and it will only be satisfied when that God-shaped vacuum is filled with the person for whom it was made, the Lord Jesus Christ. Solitary, lonesome, I’m talking to someone who is incredibly lonely this minute and you say nobody understands and nobody cares and you’re probably more than half right. For people are generally taken up with their own concerns and their own troubles, aren’t they?
But Jesus knows and Jesus cares “casting all your care upon him for he careth for you,” the Bible says. And so today if you feel that awful lonesomeness in your soul, turn to God. Talk to your Heavenly Father and let Him talk to you by His Holy Spirit and through His written Word. You’d be surprised at how the loneliness goes away and you’d get a sense of well-being and a sense of direction and a sense of fellowship with the one who cares about you.
Dear Father, today, fill that lonesome place in our hearts. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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