“Our souls are restless until they rest in you.” It was St. Augustine who said that, and I think those words are pretty timeless. I was listening to the radio in the car yesterday, and heard a little news report on the happiness of people who used all the latest technological gadgets. A new survey is out which looked at the relative happiness of 180 of the world’s nations. Those countries who used more of the latest tech toys and gadgets didn’t do so well: Germany takes 81st place, Japan is number 95, and the U.S. comes in at number 150. The happiest nation on the planet, according to the survey, is the tiny South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, where one would be hard pressed to find an iPod or a TiVo player.
Yet our hearts do seem to covet all this kind of stuff. And not just stuff, but prestige, high paying jobs, and big houses. But, our hearts are made for just one thing: unity with God, and nothing short of that unity will settle our restlessness. Isaiah echoes that sentiment in today’s first reading:
My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you;
When your judgment dawns upon the earth,
the world’s inhabitants learn justice.
O LORD, you mete out peace to us,
for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.
When we truly find happiness, we have to know that it is God who has accomplished it. We get some glimpses of that in this life, you know. I was looking at some pictures taken at my ordination yesterday. You won’t be surprised to know that my ordination was the happiest day of my life. And it was because God made it that way. Maybe you feel the same way about your own wedding day, or the birth of your children, or some occasion like that. It is truly God who has accomplished all we have done and has given our restless hearts true happiness.
So maybe it’s time we put down our iPods and turned off the TiVo and come to the Lord, all of us who labor and are burdened. May we all look to God who longs to give us rest, our God whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light.