Encountering Absolute Rest
by Burk Parsons
All human beings are made in the image of God, and all human beings know God created them, whether or not they want to admit it. We know that God created us with an insatiable desire for goodness, truth, and beauty. By nature we know we need these three things and that we need them absolutely. We do not yearn for partial goodness, truth, and beauty but for complete and absolute goodness, truth, and beauty. We strive after these three essential qualities because we can’t help but strive after them. Just as God has put eternity in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11), He has put goodness, truth, and beauty in the very fabric of our souls. And as we eternally desire infinite goodness, truth, and beauty, so the God who embodies these has created us to know Him, the only infinite one, who is the beginning and the end of all goodness, truth, and beauty. As such, by God’s design, we will never grow tired or bored in our pursuit, knowledge, and love of these transcendentals that find their fulfillment in God Himself.
In his Confessions, Augustine prayed, “Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee… . Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”
Our hearts are restless without God, and they won’t fully cease to be restless until we see Him face to face, coram Deo, and find our final rest and fullest expression of worship in the One who created us to worship Him and be fully satisfied in Him. As believers, just as the Author of our faith made us dependent to find rest in Him at our conversion, so the same Finisher of our faith is about the unrelenting business of making us dependent everyday of our lives to find daily rest in Him alone.
However, as self-made men with idols that look just like us, we are constantly chasing after mere shadows of goodness, truth, and beauty. We catch a glimpse of what tickles the ear, fancies the eye, and amuses the mind, and we chase after it with all our might. Both the enemy within and the enemy without have become successful partners in manufacturing appealing idols that have the appearance of goodness, truth, and beauty, attempting to draw our eyes from the Creator to the created. But as it is, all creation sings God’s glory, and wherever we find goodness, truth, and beauty, may we draw our eyes from the created to the Creator.
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