Restoring Your Soul in Turbulent Times

This article was written by John Eldredge and published by Jesus Calling


I am all around you, to bless and restore. Breathe Me in with each breath.

The longing for things to be good again is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. It has slumbered in the depths of our souls ever since we lost our true home, for our hearts remember Eden.

Most of the time, this powerful longing flows like an underground river below the surface of our awareness––so long as we are consoled by some measure of goodness in our lives. While we are enjoying our work, or family, our adventures, or the little pleasures of this world, the longing for things to be good again seems to be placated.

Times of Testing

But when trials and heartbreaks wash in, the longing rises to the surface like a whale coming up for air, filled with momentum and force. This is especially true after times of severe testing, because during the testing we are rallying. But when the storm subsides, the longing for things to be good again rises up to demand relief.

How we shepherd this longing—how we listen to it, but also guide it in right or wrong directions—determines our fate.

Compounding Disappointments

When the human heart and soul begin to experience month after month of disappointment and loss, death rolls in. Dr. Richard Gunderman describes the progressive onset of burnout as, “the accumulation of hundreds or thousands of tiny disappointments, each one hardly noticeable on its own.”The loss of hope and dreams suffocates the Primal Drive for Life.

But our God has provision for us!

God wants to make His life available to you. Remember, He’s the creator of those beautiful places you wish you could go for a sabbatical. All that beauty and resilience, all that life comes from God, and He wants to impart a greater measure of himself to you!

River of Life

The life of God is described in scripture as a river––a powerful, gorgeous, unceasing, ever-renewing, ever-flowing river. The prophet Ezekiel was given a number of beautiful visions of very beautiful things. He saw the temple of God in Jerusalem, and out of the temple was flowing the River of Life. As it flowed forth across the countryside, it became so deep and wide, it wasn’t possible to swim across it––an image of abundance! I love how the passage ends:

Where the river flows, everything will live.

Ezekiel 47:9 (NIV)

Everything will live. This is what we want––to live, to find life in its fullness again.

The Apostle John was given a revelation of the coming Kingdom, the restored earth, and he saw the River of Life flowing right down the middle of the City of God:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1–2 (NIV)

There is so much Life flowing from God, it flows like a mighty river. Isn’t that marvelous?

Follow me now––the River of Life is not just for “later.” Jesus states very clearly that the River is meant to flow out of our inner being right here, in this life:

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them (John 7:37–38 NIV).

God is “the fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9). There is so much Life flowing from God, it flows like a river no one can even swim across––a superabundant outflow of life! This life is meant to flow in us and through us.

Returning to the Source

In order to tap into the River of Life, we begin by loving God in our longing for life to be good again. That’s where things are decided. We enter the longing, feel it, become present to it, and in this place we start loving God. We choose Him. Because we’ve been taking that longing other places.

So our first step toward resilience is to return our Primal Drive for Life and our longing for things to be good again to God. We come back to Jesus from all other places we’ve been chasing life. We allow Him to be our Rescuer here, in the longing for life to be good again. We ask God to fill us with the River of his Life:

Jesus, I come back to You now in my longing for life to be good again. I love You here, Lord, in my soul’s heartache. I consecrate to you my Primal Drive for Life. I surrender to you my ability to aspire for good things, plan for them, take hold of them, enjoy them, and keep on aspiring. I consecrate all living in me to You, Lord Jesus; I give You my famished craving for life to be good again.

And now I ask that the River of Your Life would flow in me, in my Primal Drive for Life and in my longing for life to be good again. I open my heart and soul to the River of Life. Let the River flow in me, through me, and all around me––restoring, renewing, and healing me. You alone are the life I seek, and I welcome Your River into my heart and soul; I receive the River of Your Life in me. Thank You, God!

In Your mighty name I pray, amen.

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