How to Satisfy a Restless Heart

‘We may go with the bee from flower to flower, but we shall never have full satisfaction till we have come to the infinite God’ (Thomas Watson).

Most people live like bees. They buzz from one activity to another, never reaching a state of satisfaction. Such restlessness is not difficult to spot. Such people are staring at their phones on the bus, watching TV in the home, scrambling from one project to another at the office, filling every moment of quietness with noise and every square inch of boredom with distraction. Nothing frightens such people more than the prospect of solitude. Pascal’s indictment of his own generation is equally relevant to our own: ‘Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his forlornness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, his emptiness.’ Like the tireless bee, we move from flower to flower in life, shifting our position to find a new source of dopamine whenever the hit of checking email or reading the headlines (yet again!) has been exhausted.

How do we avoid such restlessness? The only answer is to drink regularly and deeply from a fountain that is able to satisfy the deepest cravings of the human heart. There is only one such fountain, God himself. Speaking of the soul-satisfying nature of God, the Psalmist says, ‘For with you is the fountain of life, in your light do we see light.’ Jesus repeats the point, with the additional clarity of recognizing that, in Himself, the fullness of God is made present and available to broken people like us. He says, ‘Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

And this is the testimony of countless Christians throughout the ages. The alternative to being a bee is to be a sheep. Instead of taking small sips of nectar, one flower after another, a better option is resting beside still waters and drinking deeply until our soul is filled.

A prayer for the day: Lord, You have made me for Yourself. You have made my heart such that it can never be satisfied until it drinks deeply and regularly of Your infinite love. Forgive me for seeking to quench my thirst apart from the wellspring of Your love. Forgive me for allowing myself to be distracted from the one thing needful. Help me today to rest beside the still waters of your grace and mercy and to look to You alone as the fountain of the joy of living.