Read Psalm 42:1-5. 1As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” 4These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. 5Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Psalms 42 and 43 combine to make one of the saddest and yet most beautiful poems in scripture. Clearly the psalmist has been going through a long ordeal – When shall I come and appear before God? A spiritual drought that has left him panting for God like a parched deer in the desert.
Palm 42 is not the exception but the rule for the believer. Every Christian’s heart lives between these two realities: existence and eternity. Turmoil and hope. Sight and faith. The soul’s thirst for God and the soul satisfaction of praise. This soul awareness is what so many of us lack.
Well therein lies the irony. It is trust in God that takes us into the desert. The fuller our faith in God the deeper our thirst for God is felt. More desire, more dryness. More panting, more praising. More lamenting, more longing. More remembering, more hoping.
To live is Christ takes us by faith into the wilderness of the soul where our desires are splayed out beside the dried up river beds of this existence. And it is there that hope in God through Christ will quench our every thirst once again.
Prayer. Jesus, be my thirsting and my quenching. My eternity and my existence. I hope in you. Amen.
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