Saturday, March 30
Thirsty deer and lemonade
Scripture: Judges 8, Psalm 42, 1 Corinthians 15
Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?
The psalmist is in trouble, and cries for help from God, and reminds himself to hope in God. He is in despair (v. 4, 5, 11). He longs to go to the temple and join the joyful worship, but he can’t.
This is his state when he writes about panting for God as a deer pants for streams of water. He is in trouble and thirsty for God.
Do I pant for God, long for God, as a deer pants for water? Am I thirsty for God, desiring Him as I would a cool drink of water on a hot day?
I remember on one backpacking trip, we hiked many miles without water on our last day. We were all extremely thirsty—all we could think or talk about was getting water. And when we finally got to the car and started driving, we pulled into the first gas station and bought the largest drinks they had. I downed a 44 ounce drink in the parking lot, refilled it and downed another before we reached the far edge of town, 2 miles away, and we stopped and refilled again. I remember that intense feeling of longing, panting, desire. It was circumstantial—we’d been without water for hours.
I think my desire for God can be circumstantial too. There are times when I’m busy, things are going well, and I’m not particularly thirsty for God. Then there are times when life caves in on you and you find yourself panting.
When my son Jeff died, I panted after God. I read the Scriptures thirstily. The only music I could listen to was worship. I was thirsty, dry, needy—and God met me there. He is faithful.
So how can I keep that thirst, that longing going even through the good times? In one sense, you can’t. You are only thirsty until you drink, then you’re satisfied.
But in another sense, you can. Imagine taking a drink of something delicious. You want more. Many years ago I was at meetings in Portland and we went to a famous restaurant for lunch. I ordered their strawberry lemonade with my lunch—$4 and it was fabulous! It was so good that I ordered a second and then a third. I assumed it was free refills—it wasn’t. I drank $12 worth of lemonade! (That was a very expensive lunch.) I kept drinking long after my thirst was satisfied. I kept drinking because it was so darn good.
You can thirst for God because you are in trouble and you’re thirsty. Or you can thirst for God because He is so darn good. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
If you’re in trouble, pant for God like a deer for water.
If you’re not in trouble, taste and see that the Lord is good, and long for more of Him!
Prayer: Lord, I want to pant for you like a deer longing for water, or me for more lemonade. Help me to see how good You are!