We’re a peculiar bunch, we humans. Most of us never seem to be satisfied with our lot in life. No matter how good or how bad, we instinctively reach out for something more.
As someone who wears many different hats in a 24-hour period, I hate to admit it but I am guilty as charged. If only my kids would do more chores; if only I could land that contract; if only I could finish that lesson plan; if only………..
Recently, a person of advanced age who has great material wealth but failing health wistfully remarked, “if only I had more money, all my troubles would be over.” The person was visibly anxious while saying this. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at that statement but it made me pause because it didn’t make any sense. Money isn’t going to solve the myriad health problems or reverse the aging process. I felt very sad for this person who, in my eyes, was still searching for something more and relying heavily on things of this world to appease an inner restlessness. That the person was an atheist certainly didn’t help.
It’s a symptom of something larger in society, this restlessness that is so common to most of us. That’s why self-help gurus and books, creams and potions that promise magical results and the latest super-food fads are so popular. We think they will satisfy our longing for something more and better.
It seems to me that the real problem is a lack of trust in Providence, and for some people, it’s the result of not knowing what Providence is. When I am restless and wanting something other than what I have, it is because I have failed to accept that God is handling things and life is unfolding as He wills. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t expect my kids to do their chores in a timely fashion or that I should stop working hard. What it means is that I not become anxious when things don’t seem to be going the way I planned.
Because it’s not all about my plans.
It would be infinitely more productive to stop searching for external solutions to satisfy our desires. Whatever we think will solve all our problems and make life better isn’t out there. The cure for our restlessness lies within our souls. Resolving to place all our confidence in God who holds us in the palm of His hand is the only true answer. “Our hearts are restless,” wrote St. Augustine, “until they rest in Thee.”