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Moments of Deep Unrest

Pastor Josh's summer newsletter.

Quick Hits

  • Baseball is back! And in celebration, the New City men are playing Wiffel Ball on August 02. Make plans to join us and click the link to RSVP
  • New City Kids had some new additions this week. The Kerseys welcomed an eight month old baby boy into their home through foster care. On July 23 Charlie Bonar was born to James and Rachel; and on the 24th, Lewis Thistleton was born to Peter and Abbey. When New City Kids classes open again, we'll need lots of volunteers to give great care to these kiddos. Rest up now!

Moments of Deep Unrest

I go under the knife again this week for my sixth eye surgery. At least, I think it's the sixth; to be honest, I've kind of lost count. Truth be told, I'm not too worried about it -- I am an old pro, after all. But those first few surgeries were "moments of deep unrest" for me, to borrow a phrase from the 19th century song writer, George Matheson. Matheson was well acquainted with moments of deep unrest, and I find myself returning to a prayer of his when I can't quite figure out what to pray.

At age 20, George Matheson was engaged to be married. That's also when he began to go blind. Upon finding this out, his fiance decided that she didn't want to go through life with a blind husband, and she left him. Matheson was devastated, but took great comfort in the love and support of his sister. He lived with her for many years, but then she got engaged. On the night before her wedding, he found himself all alone (and lonely) in the house, facing the prospect of carrying on without the person who had come through for him the most. Perhaps he also was thinking back to what would have been his own wedding day years before.

In that moment of deep unrest, he wrote the song "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go." He wrote the whole thing in five minutes. Later, he would say it was the only song he ever wrote that required no editing. It came to him "as if dictated." It's a song about the love of God: the "Joy that seekest me through pain." (Click HERE for a live recording at our organization service at the 20th Century in February, 2013)

But I digress. I mentioned Matheson's prayer. He wrote it based on Romans 8:26, and for those "moments of deep unrest." Even though my reaction to this surgery isn't the same as the ones previous, I find myself returning to Matheson's words all the same. Maybe his words will be a blessing to you as well.

O my Father, I have moments of deep unrest -- moments when I know not what to ask by reason of the very excess of my wants. I have in these hours no words for Thee, no conscious prayers for Thee. My cry seems purely worldly; I want only the wings of a dove that I may flee away. Yet all the time Thou hast accepted my unrest as a prayer. Thou hast interpreted its cry for a dove's wings as a cry for Thee. Thou hast received the nameless longings of my heart as the intercessions of Thy Spirit. They are not yet the intercessions of my spirit; I know not what I ask. But Thou knowest what I ask, O my God. Thou knowest the name of that need which lies beneath my speechless groan. Thou knowest that, because I am made in Thine image, I can find rest only in what gives rest to Thee; therefore Thou hast counted my unrest unto me for righteousness, and hast called my groaning Thy spirit's prayer. Amen.

Worth a Look

  • Last week, I read Scott Sauls' latest book -- A Gentle Answer: Our 'Secret Weapon' in an Age of Us Against Them. I highly recommend it, especially in light of what we are learning of love from 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Parents of teens and tweens, I encourage you to sign up for the free Culture Translator newsletter from Axis. "It’s hard to keep track of everything teens are into, let alone know how to talk with them about those things. But it doesn’t have to be! The Culture Translator is our free weekly newsletter, translating new developments in pop culture to help parents and faith leaders understand and disciple their teenagers."