Our Hearts Are Restless Until They Find Their Rest In You

You Will Feel Alone Sometimes

Before I left for college freshman year, my Dad gave me two words of advice.

The first: “You will feel alone sometimes.”

And the second: “You need sleep and rest enough.”

I didn’t really listen well enough and the first time I felt alone, I panicked. That was the first day. Then I started losing sleep, and club stuff started up to make matters worse. I have been growing into those two pieces of advice for the last two years, and I think I’m finally understanding them.

I felt more alone than ever that day, 4,000 miles away, trudging through the tall grass on the side of the road in Arequipa, Peru. The sun flashed its last golden rays behind me over the mountains, and then the moon stepped in to shine. It was the most beautiful moonrise over those same volcanoes, but I could hardly take them in. I felt too alone to stop and stare. I felt too scared. I was supposed to be with my friends but one of them got sick and the other went out with his girlfriend.

So, I trudged, alone. I dodged a couple of crazy cars swerving around, and then finally made it. After a mile walk, a bus ride, and another mile trudge alone, I was there. La Canchita, the field. I came to play some soccer. Usually we went in groups, but it was near the end of the trip and no one could come, not even my good friends. So I was alone. I was far from my friends and from God. I was far from my family and from home. I was restless in my heart and worried about not having done enough or seen enough in the country.

I felt like a failure with no one to talk to. And then I started telling Charlie about this. He was the arcero, the keeper for the team, and I had been to his house for dinner one night. I told him about some of the places we’d travelled to since I’d last seen him, and that we were leaving in a week. That this would probably be the last time we saw each other, and most of it would be playing the game. These were Jeremy’s friends, our HULA director. His neighbors. His crowd. His age. It was hard to talk to them because of the language difference, but I was learning. But this thing I heard loud and clear in my lonely heart. He looked straight at me, with the eyes of a friend, and said to me, “Whenever you come back to Peru, stay at my home. You are always welcome in our home.” 

Building A Home

My dad’s family is in the business of making homes. My grandpa started a building company that now my uncle runs, but the whole family has helped out in some way. Even the itch to be a homebuilder reigns in my dad, a preacher’s blood. Just the other day he started talking to my mom and my grandparents about buying a lot to build a new house on in North Tulsa. Building homes is in the blood. 

Your Father is in the business of creating homes, too. Did you know that? Did you know you have a Father in home-building? It’s a family business too. Your whole family is in it. I saw more of this global home business these past 9 months of travel than I ever knew of my uncle’s company in Bartlesville. I saw how God is in the business of home-building. He is a home-expert. He makes homes everywhere. He creates Home wherever his people are.

There is a picture of Charlie and some of our friends at his parents’ house. And one in the car on the last day. I got to see him again. He invited us over for lunch. Chicken ceviche. It’s so good, you’ll have to try it if you ever go to Peru. 

God provided us with homes to worship in during HULA. The Daggetts, the directors, are leading a home-church that meets in their home and a couple of Peruvians’ homes as well. God provided us a place of peace and rest for worship. 

And on the island of Amantani, in the middle of the highest lake in the world, God gave us a home to rest in. To eat in. To sleep in. To cook and wash dishes and have conversation in. Mrs. Vicki was our mom in this home. 

Before we made it to Peru, God provided us a home in the Vina del Mar Church of Christ. They welcomed us with open arms, choppy Spanish, and a good barbecue and soccer match. I went for a walk on the boardwalk with Lew Knapp, a HULA friend, and two members of the church and talked about life in Chile and our walks with God. 

HULA itself was a family and a home for me. God gave us 40 friends, adults and students, as companions in travelling South America. 

God even provided for me after HULA. I went to Honduras with Sidney, my girlfriend, to work with Predisan, a Honduran-run mission aimed to preach and to heal Catacamas, Honduras. He gave me a home with the Francos, a family of two doctors and two young kids that I lived every day life and routine with as I learned Spanish and how to serve in the mission of Predisan. The Francos were my Honduran parents, and their kids my siblings. It hurt to leave. 

He gave me a home with Sidney’s family in Hobbes, NM. Yes, God even prepares a home in the wilderness of Hobbes, NM, which is essentially Texas oil rigs and desert. Through my home in Tulsa, and then Springdale, AR and Searcy, God gave me a home to stay in with the Dells and the Sandlins. And then Sidney and I took a train all the way up from Little Rock, through Chicago, to Utica, NY where my aunt and uncle’s home is. And we stayed with them before we hopped on the Appalachian Trail with my cousin and her boyfriend in Vermont. 

There on our second day of hiking, we set out to do 20 miles with 35 lb packs. Most thru-hikers do 20 miles and 20 lb packs, late in the game after they’ve learned. It started pouring rain on us after lunch. We were aiming for a place even closer than the shelter—some trail angel’s barn at mile 17. We cried our way down the last hill at 14 miles and dropped our packs by the side of the road. It was 7:00 pm. No way we’d make it three more miles over this mountain ahead of us.

So we walked down the road, still raining, and asked this family at a house right off the road cutting through the trail if we could use their phone and call a taxi. They laughed later and told us there were no taxis or Ubers that came out to rural VT. In that moment though, they looked at us, wet, cold, aching and dripping, and the parents said to us, “No, you can stay here with us. We have an upstairs in our addition for hosting guests.”

They told us we were the first random hikers to ever stay with them, but they moved there from NYC with the dream of starting a hiker haven to hospitably host those on the journey. They brought us food and water, let us shower and clean up, and gave us a bed and couches to sleep on. And they gave us dignity and love in conversation and warmth. 

Later on, we hitchhiked for the first time and this guy gave us four jars of his fruit preserves he had just been making. There’s a story to that one. And we stayed at a hiker hostel in the city of Rutland for two days. There’s definitely a story there. 

I went on to this conference in New York for an organization, and I left the second night because my random roommate from Notre Dame came in drunk after midnight and threw up on the bed and the floor on my side. I sought refuge with my family friends, the Chambers, in their home outside NYC. I took an Uber for the first time ever at 3:30 am, then two trains, switching in Harlem at 6, and arrived at 8.

I hadn’t slept a wink, so when I arrived, Chrystal made me breakfast and a bed for me to rest in. I slept all day. At night I ran and talked with the dad, one of my dad’s best friends. I learned how to shoot with a lacrosse stick with the boys. And we had a summer night dream’s dinner of watermelon and fresh salad and smoked salmon and corn on the cob before black cherry soda floats out back with their grandparents. The next day, I went to church with them, and Robert brought me to the airport. 

When I arrived back home, I left the next day for Dallas with my friends Parker, Easton, and James to intern for a couple of days at CitySquare, an organization that houses the homeless and brings justice for the poor as advocates and friends. While there, we stayed with Lindsay Bender (our Impact director‘s) parents and aunt. They graciously hosted us with beds and a table full of food and lively conversation and games every night. They brought us to their church on Wednesday night. Even when her parents left on the second-to-last night, her mom Phyllis left us cinnamon rolls and cookies.

The next night, she organized for us to eat dinner at Lindsay’s grandparents’ home just because they’d be gone. And her aunt continued to cook for us the next day. It was impressive how kind they were to us. And we only just met them, because of Lindsay! 

I finally came home for this last week of the summer, after 9 months full of travels. I count from the day I left Harding last fall after finals until now as a whole period of journeys. I was on the road, in the air, on a boat, or in a train more hours than ever before. And I speak Spanish far better than when I began. I spent three of those months 4000 or more miles away from my family. I missed them. I missed “home.” I spent January and February as near to my home as possible. I lived there while I worked before HULA. But I also left for a week here and there, visiting Harding, visiting Springdale for New Years.

Even when I was home, I didn’t always stay there. I ran away. In my heart. I ran to my room and distracted myself with a book or music. I ran to my phone. I ran away from healthy, necessary conflict with my sisters that could have grown us, and I allowed unhealthy passivity to fester. I neglected my relationship with God. I didn’t pray every morning, nor read from the stories of Scripture. This continued throughout my travels. I was lost and alone sometimes. I continued the passivity and arguing with my best friends. I lacked prayer life and Scripture-formed life. I ran away from the duty of loving those I was closest to because I was so distracted by the restlessness in my own heart and all the places I was seeing in front of my eyes. 

You can travel around the whole world. You can go to the depths of the sea, scuba diving in Easter Island’s coral reefs. You can look on the Appalachian Trail like many hikers. The top of a 19,000 ft volcano in Arequipa, Peru. The mountains and glaciers of Patagonia. The myriad of wonders in the Amazon Jungle. The highest lake in the world with some of the oldest cultures known to man. You can scale the heights of Machu Picchu. You can see the whole world and not know in your heart that you have a home. You can travel everywhere, learn every language and culture, but not know what rest is.

That is why I felt alone walking on the side of the road in Peru. That is why I felt unsatisfied on the peaks of mountains I climbed. That is why I felt anxious when I entered a new city, because I thought I wasn’t home. I thought I was a tourist. A traveler. A restless wanderer of the earth. I didn’t trust in God. I didn’t rest in the home he made for me. 

God is a homemaker. Our Father makes homes for you wherever you go. He provides warmth and love. He creates food for sustenance and joy and beds for rest and sabbath. He invites and calls us to rest in our hearts. To peace in his sabbath. To belonging in his home. He calls us home. 

God Is A Homemaker

That’s what I didn’t fully understand during my journeys. I didn’t understand that no matter where I went, even if I didn’t go anywhere, I was at home if I chose to be. I didn’t understand that God was providing homes for me in the church and the families of the HULA group, Chile, Peru, Honduras, and the States. God was with me, loving me wherever I went. He was waiting for me to choose to rest my heart in him and to not go looking for myself anywhere but with him. To not be restless of heart. To not be homeless, wandering the earth like Cain. 

I see more clearly now, what God’s plan is for his people. I see more clearly his story of being a home-creator. He was a home-creator from the beginning. He made a home for all of creation on earth, and a home for his servants in heaven. He made a home for himself to dwell in with Adam and Eve in the garden, and he invited them to rest with him there on the 7th day.

Even though they rejected him and wandered, homeless, restless, he sought them out, and he provided a home for them and their descendants. He began a new home with Abraham when he asked of Abram to leave his earthly father’s home to begin anew. And he confirmed that with Jacob when he dreamed of the ladder to heaven and called the place Bethel, house of God.

God continued to provide a home for his family in Egypt during the famine of Joseph. And in the exodus, through the tabernacle. God tented with the Israelites. He made a home for them in the promised land, with every bad decision they made. He followed them, making a home and calling them to Sabbath from the tabernacle to the promised land, to the temple of the kings and the exile. He brought them back home after the exile and made a new home for himself and his people to dwell in.

Then, he came to dwell with mankind, to be at home with us in Jesus Christ, and Christ calls us to dwell with him. He says in John 14 that he has/is preparing a place for us in the Father’s home. And he continues to call us to be people of that sabbath rest, saying in Hebrews that the people of the sabbath still live here in the church. We are still a people of God dwelling with mankind in a home, a place of sabbath rest. And we hope in the promise of the new heavens and the new earth, the new home coming for God to dwell with us at home forever in sabbath. We hope in the call of the kingdom, to make homes here on earth that are faithful to that story we believe in of God making homes of rest for us. A place where we are obedient to the joyful duty of love. 

That is what I experienced with all the hospitality of the journeys. That is what I strive to bring back here to home here at Harding and to my home wherever I go. Some of my friends and I are going to take a Sabbath every Sunday. Just the body of the church in the morning, then cooking, eating, playing and praying in the afternoon and night. No work. No homework. That is for the 6 days. The 7th, now the 1st, the day we live out of from Christ’s resurrection and new life, is now. It is time for Sabbath rest. It is time to be at home. GOD is my home. GOD is my Sabbath rest. GOD is my impetus to remain with those I am with already—my family, my friends, my classmates and teachers, my church—to love them fully. GOD’s Story. The Story of Scripture and my Story is what I will live out of. We are restless and homeless until we rest in the Lord. It is for all of us.


Jacob Taylor

Jacob is a junior pursuing degrees in Bioscience and Philosophy as a Junior at Harding University, seeking to learn how the love for God’s creation and God’s people converge through mutual care.

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