Feeling As Fit As A Fiddle With Three Strings Missing
“I have been as restless as a dog chasing its tail,” I told Ed yesterday. My old neighbor from Saskatchewan has always been ten times more relaxed than myself on any given day. He commented that being restless is nothing new with you. He doubted that I have been more restless than usual.
Ed believes that if you can name your problem you should be able to fix it. He told me restlessness is a minor ailment that I can cure with a little self-talk, it is just a change of attitude on my part. He said that if I had a fiddle with three strings missing, I would replace the missing strings. Replace a thing or two in your thinking, and you will cure your restlessness. Of course, Ed also directed me to a shot of whiskey as, a-cure-all for whatever is wrong with me.
I told Ed that I wasn’t sure if my restlessness was due to boredom or lack of purpose in retirement. He was not impressed when I told him that I will be taking a course at the university by a psychology professor learning about the science of healthy aging. The course will explore how people can maintain a healthy and active brain across their lifespan. Ed said that he didn’t think there was much help or hope for my brain at my age. Of course, I said that he could be right.
Restlessness or anxiousness is a common occurrence in the Bible. Then as now folks often get stuck in their lives becoming restless with their today’s, and the prospects of their tomorrows. There was a time in the Old Testament when the Israelites had cause to be both restless and anxious. Many of them had been taken as captives to Babylon. Being exiles there, they grew restless, feeling concerned that they might never be able to return home to Jerusalem.
The prophet Isaiah told the Israelites in their anxiousness, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come and save you.” In their anxiety their eyes had become blind, their ears deaf, they were lame with doubt, and they did not speak or sing with joy. Their problem was that they had focused on themselves and had forgotten about the power and love of their God.
Isaiah compared their situation to that of being in a desert. Mostly there is little hope of it raining in the desert, but, yet everyone knows that it does happen sporadically. Sometimes, streams of water do flow there giving growth and new life.
We get restless and anxious because God is not doing what we want as fast as we want. God has his own way of doing what is best for us in the fullness of his time. God did bring home those exiled to Babylon, but it took seventy years to come about.
In the fullness of God’s time, Jesus came to earth because sin leaves us both restless and hopeless. He opened our eyes to see, and unstopped our ears to hear, and healed our doubt by his life, death, and resurrection among us. We can turn in faith to our Holy God in heaven in Jesus’ sinlessness and find His welcome love for us.