How Wrestling with Restlessness Brings Rest

wrestling brings restWrestling brings rest.

It was a cool summer evening and even though it happened over fifty years ago, I remember. In the early evening, the sky was slowly dimming its light. There was a nudging, a whispering, like wind coming through trees, and the sound called my name. I was restless, and I did not know why.

You know what I learned that night? I learned to wrestle with my restlessness. The unsettledness bothered me, but I did not know what bothered me. So I went to my room, and I asked God to explain the wind through the trees, the uneasy waves lapping at me, and the lack of calm in my spirit.

He answered. I did not like what He said. Nor did I want to hear what I needed to do.

So I wrestled. With God, and with me. I knew the only way to find rest was to wrestle with my restlessness.

When a person wrestles, he struggles with a difficulty or a problem. He grapples with his opponent until one of them wins. This time, God won.

There were things bothering me – things beyond my control or my happiness. They bothered me a lot, only I had not recognized my anger and frustration. The wind came, and I felt that nudging, that whispering from the trees, that stirring within me. It was His Spirit. I wanted to be free of the restlessness, so I listened. He showed me my anger and my bitterness. He told me that to be free, I had to let it go. I found that genuine wrestling brings rest.

So I let it go. Not without wrestling first, mind you. I wrestled with God over the unfairness, the pain, and the way things beyond my control had changed. Afterwards, I gave it back to Him. It was the only way to do business and find rest. That’s because wrestling brings rest.

restlessness to rest
photo by Bruce Wilkins

From restlessness to rest

When Jesus told the storm, “Peace! Be still!”, the account tells us that the wind ceased, and there was a calm. Just like that.

I believe it happened that way, because that’s what happened with me that night in my room. I admitted my anger and bitterness to God and received His forgiveness. My restlessness changed to rest, and I was free.

When we wrestle with our restlessness and let God win, we become free. We are at rest, and at peace. We are quiet; we are still. It’s a wonderful place to be!

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Photo credits:

sunset and dove by

ocean evening by Bruce Wilkins


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