“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” Ps. 42:1
I recently was outside in the sun and heat for a good portion of my day. I forgot to bring a water bottle with me, so at the end of the day I was not just thirsty – I was craving water. When I finally got my drink of water, it was so refreshing and satisfying – it was just what I needed in that moment.
In life we have those moments when we find ourselves in need of something. I needed water because I was thirsty. Maybe you need hope because life is one piece of bad news after the other. Maybe you need love because you feel forgotten and overlooked. Maybe you need wisdom because you have a big decision to make. Maybe you need joy because life has been too serious recently.
The question is, how are you filling that need? There are things which wouldn’t have satisfied my thirst – crackers, dirt, bleach, etc.; there are things which would have satisfied it for a little while, but would have ultimately left me thirstier – pop, coffee, energy drink, etc. The best thing to drink when you are thirsty is cold, clean water. When you look at how you are filling those needs in your life, how well are they meeting your need?
Here the Psalmist says that his soul longs for God like we long for water when we are thirsty. This is because for all of the problems and difficulties in life, God can meet all of those needs. When all hope is lost, I have found that He gives a hope which gets me through. When I feel unimportant and unloved, He reminds me how much He loves me. When the path seems unclear, He provides guidance. When life is full of sorrow, He provides a joy which surpasses understanding. He not only is able to help you in your difficulties, He meets you there and helps you through them.
The God who the Psalmist said his soul was longing for is the same God who says in the gospel of John, “let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (7:37). Jesus is not just talking about satisfying your need for water (although He can do that – Ex17), but is speaking on a deeper level of being able to satisfy for all your needs. This is why the Psalmist longed for God – He knew that the only way the concerns which He voices in the rest of Psalm 42 would be answered was if He went to God.
If you have never experienced God’s loving Fatherly hand providing for you, my hope and prayer is that He would show up in your life. That He would move mightily in your life and show His great power and love to you.
If you have experienced God’s loving Fatherly hand, my challenge to you is to answer this question honestly – do you crave Him? When you experience difficulties and trials in life do you turn to Him? Does it feel like something is missing in your day when you don’t spend time with God, or can you go a few days without Him?
Philip VanderWindt is pastor of the Alamosa Christian Reformed Church.