Have you at times experienced an inner restlessness, perhaps a guilt that does not let you rest? On the one hand, it is a good sign if our conscience is still active and we feel this restlessness. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. In Jesus Christ, we can find peace for our soul.
The writer of the 42nd Psalm suffered from inner distress. Surely there had to be a reason for this inner unrest. He wanted to recognize and become free of it, and come to rest. With this request, he turned to God and said: “O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You” (verse 7). “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (verse 12). He knew that God could heal him and give him soothing, inner peace.
Whenever we have turmoil in our lives, there is usually a reason for it. Perhaps there is a self-inflicted problem in our relationship with God or with our fellow man. Our own conscience may condemn us and cause us to be inwardly anxious. If this is the cause, then we need to ask ourselves, “Is everything really all right with me?”
There was a knock on the door of the pastor’s house. He opened it, and two female students entered. “We have a problem that we can’t really deal with,” they began. “What kind of problem is that?” They then presented him with questions about historical events for which they couldn’t find any clarity. The experienced man immediately recognized that behind this “problem” there was a far more serious one, and that his visitors wanted to detour around the problem to reach their goal.
Wasn’t it similar with John’s disciples? Two of them followed Jesus, and when He noticed them, He turned and asked, “What do you seek?” Their answer was, “Rabbi, where are You staying?” (John 1:38) Was that really all they wanted to know, or was there a deeper motivation that prompted them to follow Jesus?
Nevertheless, the pastor got straight to the point: “Now tell me, you didn’t really come to me to hear my explanation on certain historical events. You have probably come because of some inner anxiety?”
Embarrassed, one stammered, “We don’t know how to begin a releationship with Jesus,” and the other nodded mutely in response. “So now we have arrived at the real problem,” the servant of the Lord said sympathetically. “You really can’t begin with Jesus until you acknowledge your own self-deception and see your guilt before Him. Is everything all right with you two?”
The answer came quickly: “Everything is all right, Pastor!” He stood up, bowed to them, and said, “With all due respect, you are the first two I have met where everything is in order. But now we must come before a just and holy God as I ask you both some extremely important questions: Have your mouths always spoken the truth? Are your hands innocent? Have your feet always walked the straight and godly path? Have your ears always heard the word of God without resistance? Are your motives pure, and do you have clean, innocent hearts?”
Slowly, one of them said, “Nothing is right with me; my whole life is a big lie.” The other one looked down in embarrassment. Now the pastor was able to point them to the cross of Jesus, and they were willing to start walking on this path of salvation.
In Psalm 32:1-2, we read: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Each one of us needs to experience this in our lives, for this is the only way we can attain inner peace.
Many people live in inner turmoil. Anyone who has experienced turmoil in their lives and received inner healing can testify to this. Many people do not want to talk about the causes of their turmoil; they do not want to uncover the real problems. They also do not want to turn in faith to the One who can really heal them.
“We don’t know how to begin with Jesus,” they say; but to be sure: He can begin doing the right thing within you! You cannot free yourself from your inner turmoil by your own strength and your own methods. “I will remember You,” the psalmist tells us in the 42nd Psalm. In Proverbs 28:13, we read, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” No one needs to remain in his tormenting turmoil till the end of his life.
We all have an immortal soul. Is there still turmoil, guilt, and fear in your soul, or is it filled with the divine light, with true peace, and with the blissful rest in God? Our Lord Jesus says: “Come to Me, all you 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” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Dear reader, allow Jesus Christ to give you this peace, because you need it in life and also in death.