Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thirsting for God in the Desert

Unfulfilled longing... it's something that most people have been able to relate to at some point or another in their lives.  For some it may be the longing for a different job or career; for others, a nicer house or more money; others, greater influence; others, better family relationships or closer friendships; still others, romance.  Unfulfilled desire can very easily control us emotionally and cause us to sink into a pit of self-pity and frustration if for even a moment we take our eyes off of the only One who can truly satisfy every longing of our heart!

Psalm 63 has long been a favorite of mine, but in recent times it has become especially dear, as I have spent time reflecting on it and seeking to discover the secret of David's contentment in God!  In so doing, God has been ever so slowly changing my heart and causing me to truly thirst for Him like never before!  I want my life to be characterized by a passionate pursuit of God, and the more time I spend reflecting on Him and practicing being thankful, the more joy I experience, and the less tempted I am to feel sorry for myself. 

I have been reading currently through a book entitled Living the Psalms, by Charles Swindoll (which I highly recommend!), and in it he zooms in on various psalms and provides a closer look at the timeless themes they contain.  One  of the psalms he highlights is Psalm 63, and I was reading through it the other day and wanted to share just a few thoughts.  In this beloved psalm, David is in the middle of a desert where there is no water, running for his life and struggling for his very survival.  Yet what strikes me most about this psalm is that his focus, what he is thirsting for the most at this time, is not what we might expect - not a cool stream of water, not delectable food to fill his empty stomach, not even deliverance from his enemy.  Notice his words in verse 1 - "God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water" [emphasis mine].  The desert experience he was going through simply highlighted more vividly the fact that only God could satisfy His heart, and it drove him to a greater longing for intimacy with God!  It began to occur to me as I pondered this verse that no matter what my "desert" experience may be, whatever the longing of my heart, God wants to use it to help me see more clearly that HE is the one who wants to satisfy me completely, and only HE is able to do this!  Therefore, whenever I am experiencing that longing for something, I can use it as an opportunity to intentionally pursue God at that moment and seek to develop my relationship with Him the same ways I would develop any relationship - by listening to Him, speaking to Him, spending time with His loved ones, and doing the things that are important to Him (Charles Swindoll, Living the Psalms, p. 185).  What a refreshing reminder this has been, and it has the potential to totally transform my perspective if I can truly grasp ahold of it!

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