Billy's Restless Heart
Holding up his Bible, Billy blurted out, “None of this makes any sense! I just can’t understand any of it! I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be getting out of this! I don’t even understand what love is!” As Billy continued pouring out his heart in our Bible class, giving voice to years and years of frustration, I couldn’t help but recall the words of St. Paul: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate’” (1Co. 1:18-19).
I hadn’t seen Billy in Bible class for quite some time before today. For years now, he has been sporadically attending my classes. He would show up for a stretch of time and then disappear again. Until today, I had just chalked up his on again, off again attendance to the boredom of stacking time, and the endless search for something — anything — to break up the monotony of being in prison. After listening to him voice his frustrations today, however, my assumption may have been completely wrong.
Apparently, Billy had been searching and for quite some time now. Whether he knew it or not, what Billy was attempting to do was fill an emptiness in his soul — an emptiness that can only be filled by the one who created him. St. Augustine once said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Billy’s heart was restless. It was yearning for a relationship with his God and, while he struggled to understand this, the Holy Spirit kept drawing him back to God’s Word, to the place where God could be found, or more to the point, where God could find Billy.
Billy showed up for three more weeks before pulling another disappearing act. God only knows what the Holy Spirit was able to accomplish in his heart over the four weeks we spent together in God’s Word. And He, alone, knows what the final outcome of Billy’s spiritual journey will be. Will Billy’s heart remain “restless” and ultimately result in eternal separation from God? Will the Holy Spirit successfully snatch Billy from the flames? Only God knows the answer. Therefore, we will continue showing up with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, for restless hearts like Billy’s, and for all the other restless hearts within the institutions.
This holiday season, as you give thanks to God for all His blessings — especially the blessing of rest in our Savior Jesus Christ — consider partnering with us in this ministry of seeking restless hearts. Help us share the love of Jesus Christ, so that their hearts might also find rest in Him.
Chaplain Joseph Radsek