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?”
God’s love for me is perfect and absolute. It was all proven and demonstrated through the birth and life of Christ, and through Him laying down His body and allowing His blood to be shed, becoming sin and taking the death we deserved. The love of God was proven and demonstrated by Christ walking out of the empty tomb, alive, resurrected… and by His ascension into heaven, as witnessed by His followers, and confirmed by the Holy Spirit being poured into them in the upper room.
Yes, because of Christ’s full and finished work – His birth, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension – I know that I am loved, but more importantly, I know that I am never alone. And even more than that, I know that I am enjoying God as close to me as He could ever be – Christ has guaranteed that He will never leave me, and I am always with Him.
However, it does feel like the Psalmist would describe, at times. I wouldn’t say too many times, but I don’t think I’m alone in seeking the feeling of God’s presence and closeness. I know I don’t really encourage looking for this ‘feeling’, because of the tendency we have to inflate it more than we ought to, but, well, it seems something we are built for. Just as we are built to worship, so I’d like to think that we are also built to seek. We’re vessels, built to overflow, but also built to take in. After all, we love only because God has loved us first – there’s no overflowing without God flowing into us first.
And so we shouldn’t be surprised if our souls long for God, even if we know that God is with us. We thirst for God, and we thirst for the LIVING God – I suppose we thirst for life, we seek to be refreshed. Even in thirst we rejoice, for we are put in our place as dependent members of the body of Christ… and it’s because of the thirst that the waters of Life do taste so much better. No doubt that in out thirst it would manifest in other aspects of our being, that we would weep… but even if we are able to hold back the tears we would give out subtle signs of how we see refreshing, signs that those around us would notice. And some would notice, indeed, and take it a step further by not only mocking us, but the God that we believe.
Little do they know that in their mocking they give out their own limited views of God – in their mocking they give out how they assume that it’s only going to be pleasure when you believe in Him. As we notice this we are not infuriated, but moved with compassion, praying for the Gospel to reach their ears that faith would arise in their hearts and minds, just as it did for us.
I guess what I’m trying to say in all this is that sometimes it’s not necessarily the grandiose moves of a divine power that we need in our day to day lives as we do walk through this reality… No, sometimes we just need God to remind us of His love by way of His presence.
Sometimes, we just need a hug.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
There are times we would feel secure about the love God has for us, content with merely knowing that Christ is as close to us as He can ever be, just as we are so close to him. There are other times, as we just discussed, where we would insist that our God would stimulate our senses.
However we live and move at any given moment, we are reminded to actually remind ourselves of how God has been good to us in the past. We would tell ourselves to hope in Him, “for (we) shall again praise Him”, implying that we have seen clearly how we have been hurt and consequently helped in the past. And how HAS God helped us? Well, we see it all through Christ, who has shown Himself to be our literal Salvation, and in His resurrection and ascension He has demonstrated to us that He Himself is God.
So take heart! For even if you see everything around you crumbling, and even if your soul and the rest of your being is literally cast down, surely we can place our hope in God, on the basis that He has helped us in the past.
Yes, He has helped us in the past. Our experiences on this matter may vary, but one thing is for sure – those in the body of Christ have recognized that the first salvation we ever had was established in His finished work. When we say we are all blessed, we are indirectly implying that Christ has ministered to us, as a blessing to precede all other blessings.
Surely He has helped the Psalmist in the vast lands of Jordan and in Hermon; He has provided assistance for him in the plains as much as He has done so in the mountains. We can make all sorts of stipulations and assumptions, but we can be sure of the clear truth of the primary, first help we have received through Jesus Christ.
Choice words for us all to think about as we continue through this weekend.
May God continue to bless us at these times.