So many believers settle for less than the presence of God simply because they don’t want it bad enough.
The Psalmist displays the right mindset to have when experiencing spiritually dry times.
When going through a trying time, he doesn’t give up, he simply gives more.
Using the image of a deer, the Psalmist describes what our thirsting for God should look like. As a deer voyages through a forest, he runs and leaps over obstacles. Staying alert for predators, he is always responsive to any threatening danger. This pace of travel exhausts me just to think about it.
Using that analogy of exhaustion and desperation, the Psalmist describes how we should thirst for God. Like a parched deer eagerly seeking water, our souls should desperately seek the presence of God to be refreshed and renewed. The Psalmist is so thirsty for God that it brings him to tears. While others taunt his faith in a God who seems veiled, he just keeps seeking.
Desperation leads to satisfaction.
Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for You, God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while all day long people say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 I remember this as I pour out my heart:
how I walked with many,
leading the festive procession to the house of God,
with joyful and thankful shouts.
5 Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God. –Psalm 42:1-5
He speaks of how he used to lead others in worship with joyful and thankful expressions. Now, he is in a place where those feelings don’t come as easy as before. Instead of cursing his condition, he just keeps thirsting for God. A thirsty deer doesn’t just give up if he has failed to find water, he desperately follows every lead until he is refreshed.
You might be going through a desert time in your spiritual life right now. Where you used to experience God in church, you feel emotionless. You can remember a time when you easily experienced his presence, but now, you wonder if he hears your prayers.
Don’t give up, keep going! Remember those times when it was easy to worship God? He is still the same God! Your response should be the same as the Psalmist’s response, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him” (v. 5). Even if you are depressed, even if your life is full of turmoil, don’t let that rob you of the extreme joy of longing after God.
We settle for less than the presence of God simply because we don’t want it bad enough.
Desperation leads to satisfaction. So how desperate for God are you today?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.