Scripture: Psalm 116
Key verse: (7) “Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you”
Reflection: Perhaps the most quoted line from Augustine’s Confessions is “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.” So many centuries later, it is still as evocative as it is simple. One way to think about the meaning of human life is this: we are God’s, and there is something within us that longs to be found in God. There is something within us that searches for God, and that becomes downright restless in the seeking. Along the way, we may have collected a few bumps and bruises related to the search, when we have tried to give our hearts to people or things that were not God and did not bring the peace only God can offer. Augustine surely did, and he wrote as one who knew what it was like to be lost and looking in all the wrong places for comfort, as well as one who knew what it was like truly to be found and at peace in the One who created him. Perhaps you’ve had both experiences, too. But there’s another promise to note in the line, too, and that is that God isn’t going anywhere, but is patiently standing by to offer us rest.
Whoever penned Psalm 116 apparently had had an experience of God’s steady, healing promises. It is a song that thanks God for hearing prayers, easing anguish, delivering from death, wiping away tears, and steadying feet. The psalmist has discovered the gracious and merciful character of God, and in verse 7, he sings, “Return, O my soul to your rest, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” Having had a reminder of the constancy of God in all the swirl of his life, he can now be at peace himself.
I sing Patty Griffin’s song, “You’re Coming Home to Me” to my children most nights before they go to bed, not because I can pull off her melodies (spoiler alert: I can’t), but because the bridge of the song so aptly reflects the non-linear nature of the human journey. She sings, “When you’re lost and you’re found…and you’re found and you’re lost…. you’re coming home to me, just remember, you’re coming home to me.” Along the unpredictable journey, the promise is re-stated: you’re coming home to me. The promise, the refrain, is sure: I’m here. It’s a refrain with the power to calm and to heal.
Perhaps you need a reminder of God’s constancy today. Perhaps you, like the psalmist, can point to a clear moment of deliverance. Take time to thank God for the healing you have received in body, mind, or spirit. Or, perhaps, you have no recent evidence to point to, and yet cling to the promise still: Child of God, when you’re lost and you’re found, and you’re found and you’re lost, may your heart find its rest in God.
Prayer: You have revealed your bountiful love in Jesus Christ, O God. Reveal its bounty again to me today, and let it bring me peace. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].