Thirsty Souls

Psalm 42: 1-3  As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?"

Sometimes I read the heart breathings of another and wish it was me. This is case with this Psalm. Here is a person whose circumstance of life has driven him to the only true source of life itself…The Presence of God.

As he writes we discover that he's crying out from the taunting of an enemy and crushing circumstances that overwhelm him. Depression threatens to drape blackness over him like a cloudy night. Worse, there’s no evidence of his God anywhere to be found. People around him who appear prosperous from serving other gods mock him asking “Where is YOUR God?”  From this place of despair he gets a revelation of the parched condition of his own soul. Then, and only then, does he cry “My soul pants for YOU, O God!”

A thirsty soul is a precious possession. However, the same soul is so easily deceived in finding refreshment from the stagnant waters of another well. The soul that finds its appetite satisfied with everything but the presence of God eventually becomes a decrepit thing. Our most cherished moments are when we discover that after drinking the dregs of this world’s joys, we are still empty, so we determine to once again set our quest to meet with God.

Recently I visited the modern mansion of a wealthy entrepreneur. The finely laid brick driveway circled by the front door of the huge house. I’d never seen doors eight feet tall until now. “Imagine,” I thought, “doors as tall as the ceilings of most homes.” As I walked through the magnanimous house I sensed an eerie barrenness. Hollow echoes followed my footsteps down mahogany hallways between rooms. Big lavish furniture looked like show pieces, while large pictures reminded me of visits to the museum. I felt like I was standing among millions of dollars worth of emptiness.

This is why the Psalmist was not interested in just any water to quench his thirst. It had to be flowing streams. Recognizing there were other sources from which to drink he determined that this time nothing less than the living God could gratify these deep desires. Some people would be satisfied to commune with God among nature, and indeed you can sense his majesty in his creation. But this man wanted more. The enchanting beauty of God’s creation could not quench the thirst of his crusty soul. His quest was to appear before God, himself!

To the average person these words are just “words”—proper religious jargon. But to those who know; to those who have lived in the precious state of thirst for heavenly realms, this is the most valued place this side of eternity.

Oh, to be thirsty! Even desperate!

Oh, to be at a place that transcends religious routine!

Indeed, the quest for his presence is almost as satisfying as the Presence himself!

Make us thirsty, O God!

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