I battle restlessness. It’s not an inherently bad thing. It is, in a way, part of my nature. I have moved quite a few times in my life, and I have this innate need for change. I rearrange the house on a regular basis, and I’m constantly looking for new and better ways to organize or accomplish tasks.
But, there are aspects of this restlessness that can be negative. If I have more than two “normal” weeks in a row, I begin to feel the need to go and do something. While there are times when the going and doing is perfectly acceptable, there are other times when I feel as if I cannot be satisfied unless I have gone and done. In those times, my restlessness leads me to impulsiveness, which is not perfectly acceptable. It also creates in me a tendency to refuse to be satisfied with the only One who can truly bring me satisfaction – my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We as a family are all reading the same passages in our quiet times each morning. Lately one of our four daily passages has been in 2 Samuel, reading through the life of David one chapter a day. The morning we read the chapter on David and Bathsheba, I had already been fighting my restlessness for a couple of days. I awoke to it that morning, once again nipping away at me and trying to get me to find fulfillment in something other than Christ. And in the middle of it all, the story of David tugged at my heart.
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1
And so begins the tale of the tragic events that trigger much trouble throughout the rest of David’s life. I had to stop and question, as I do every time I read this story, why David stayed home. Why didn’t he go out to war? What could have possibly prompted him to make such a decision?
What if it was restlessness?
Think about it. David is finally king, but he hasn’t had much time to just be king. He’s been out fighting this battle or that one. What if he’s tired of the battles? I mean, he doesn’t seem to suffer many defeats. What if there’s just no excitement to it anymore? No challenge? What if he just wants something different? So, he stays home, thinking that doing so will satisfy the itch.
The problem is that the only thing that really satisfies such an itch is abiding in God. And because David tries to satisfy the itch of restlessness in a way other than abiding, he finds himself getting what he wants, but still wanting more. Dissatisfaction weighs down on him and his restlessness grows.
And then he sees her. Surely having her would satisfy the restlessness. Instead, it just creates more issues. Horrible issues. Sin upon sin upon sin with consequences that steal multiple children from him and plague him for the rest of his life.
No rest is found for the restlessness until David is finally wrenched from his selfish path of destruction and finds that all he can do is fall into the forgiving arms of the only One who could have eased his restlessness in the first place.
God’s Word is ever timely and perfect. David’s story gave me strength that day – strength to battle my restlessness and make the conscious choice to abide in Christ. The restlessness didn’t automatically disappear. I still struggled with it the next two days. But, God granted me victory! He walked me through it and helped me stay the course, being productive right where I needed to be. He gave me strength through my husband and filled my mind with ideas of how to be productive right where He had me. And when the restlessness subsided, He gave me the incredible blessing of rejoicing in the victory.
What is tempting you away from perpetual abiding? What is trying to draw you away from being where you know you should be? May David’s story speak to you as it has to me. And may it strengthen you to abide.