Restless Wandering

The problem - childs feet and long twisted shoelaces

Do you ever feel stuck? In a rut? Or that you’re wandering, searching for that thing to fill the restlessness? Perhaps life is in such constant change that you are finding it hard to keep up. I have to admit, I like change at times (this is one reason my house is in a constant state of redecorating). I don’t like to live with too much routine, but I’m also a creature of habit. I do like adventure, creating and discovering new and exciting things, but I also need a sense of calm and stability to my life. This zig-zag can leave a girl feeling dizzy and plain worn out! These were my musings as I hit Genesis 4 in my Bible reading this year.

One of my goals for this year is to WRITE more. In the last few years I’ve been writing using my computer or iPad, but this year decided I would begin journaling again with pen and paper. I found a beautiful journal and I just love opening those crisp, white pages and putting pen to the page each day. Oh how I have missed journaling this way! And it’s been a great catalyst for causing me to slow down, meditate on what I’m reading and think about how it affects where I am right now and what needs to change.

I thought I share some of my musings, mutterings and  journaling from reading through the Bible this year.

I was reading a few weeks ago in Genesis 4, the story of Cain and Abel. Familiar, tempting to just skim because it’s one of those stories you know so well. (Side note: I’ve been reading through the Bible this year in a translation I’ve never read through from Genesis to Revelation before, another great way to make you slow down, take notice and not skim.) Back to our story…a few phrases from this chapter really struck me.  It is found in verses 11-14 where we read of God’s punishment for Cain killing Abel and then Cain’s response.

So now you are cursed, alienated, from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood you have shed. If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. —Genesis 4:11-12

The last phrase caused me to pause —a restless wanderer.

And Cain’s response…

But Cain answered the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Since You are banishing me today from the soil, and I must hide myself from Your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, whoever finds me will kill me.” —Genesis 4:13-14

We see the phrase repeated again —a restless wanderer.

Cain states that he must hide himself from God’s presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth. It hit me…what a perfect description of life apart from God’s presence —a restless wanderer.

restless – nûa – a verb meaning to shake or stagger, to wander; it describes a displaced person, a vagrant; It describes a person physically shaking or trembling from fear.

wanderer – nûḏ – a verb meaning to flee, to wander, to mourn. It has the sense of aimless motion or actions. It refers to a person moving about aimlessly without a home.

The definitions in the original language are powerful descriptors. And as I meditated upon this, I realized what an appropriate description of life for us apart from God’s presence — alienated, displaced, staggering about, living in fear, aimless, without a home or purpose.

But the Lord also brought to mind His perfect plan of restoration for us in Jesus:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “ Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. —Galatians 4:4-7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. —Ephesians 1:7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. —Ephesians 2:4-5

But I have to admit, there are those days and even seasons when still I feel like that restless wanderer.

Restless wandering that makes life seem aimless. I question the season. I question where God has me. I question my daily tasks, wondering if they are having an impact.

Restless wandering can be fearful. Life can feel unstable. Life can be fearful. And without a doubt, when we look at our world we find reason to fear.

Restless wandering is exhausting and lonely and oh so wearying.

But I love that I can come to Him with all my questioning and doubts.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. —Matthew 11:28-30

My God is ever-present (Psalm 46:1). I cannot be driven from His presence, even when life “feels” as if He is far away. He never is!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39

This is why God instructs and encourages us to daily renew our minds in the truths of His Word —His powerful, living, active and effective Word that stands firm forever!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. —Isaiah 40:8.

It is in God’s presence that I can pour out my heart and wrestle with my thoughts. In His presence I find the place of rest, peace, joy and security. And I can rise and walk through another day knowing the power of His presence is with me always!

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —Psalm 16:11

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. —Colossians 2:6-7

We no longer have to wander restlessly and aimlessly. We can live daily without being consumed by our fears. We live with a sense of purpose and identity as we walk out who we are in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1). As Paul encourages in his letter to the Colossians let us… continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard… —Colossians 1:23.

“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.” —Augustine

Be encouraged in His presence today!

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