The security situation where we live degraded last week, here in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s all “part of doing business” for overseas missionaries, but still there is something inside our human hearts which reminds us that this unrest isn’t normal. It’s also a good reaffirmation of one of the reasons why we are here.
It’s because it is in stark contrast to the message we’ve come here to share. The message which transformed our very own hearts and overflows, beckoning us to proclaim it as the best news for all who will hear and listen. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28-30). This is rest from sin, from striving, from guilt and broken relationship with God and others. It is shalom, whole and all-encompassing rest because Christ offers it; and He is the only one who can offer, having given up His life to pay for our debts and restore the broken relationships.
I never thought about why we call it unrest until reading those scriptures and Hebrews 4, which speaks of the promised rest and the lack of rest for those who are disobedient to God’s instructions. Don’t we really mean “trouble” or “danger” or “fighting” or “disorder”? And yet in all the security briefings I’m part of and all the updates I receive, the word I hear most is “unrest.” I think it’s because this links us to that longing in all human hearts to be at rest. A real rest that can be experienced here and now and yet also has an eternal aspect that we feel as well.
May God bring rest not only to this city and country, but to the hearts of its people.