“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
So panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth 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 continually say unto me, “Where is thy God?”
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me
For I had gone with the multitude.
I went with them to the house of God
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept holyday.” (KJV)
The hart has had a successful season. Filled with ample sustenance, he has fulfilled his earthly purpose. He has avoided the hunters, fought off the young bucks seeking to steal his harem, and propagated his seed throughout the herd. Drained to the core from these arduous struggles, he seeks respite; winter looms on the horizon. He pants for the cool, spring waters that once burst forth from the hillside brooks, finding instead scant, stagnant provisions. Snorting into the air with a sullen spirit, he realizes that the time of refreshing is far off.
We live prosperous lives, sated with food, shelter, and clothing, but at what a price. Prosperity sprang a leak and faded away; the springs of youth dried up. Strength fails, family and friends come and go, and our faith–our elusive hope in God—is now merely a fractured image. Struggling with life’s issues, our physical and spiritual reserves depleted, we need the soul-refreshing waters that only God provides.
“Return our youth, our wealth, family and friends. O God, even you have fled our sight!” Clinging tightly to our yesterdays, our hearts are disquieted within us. We need to fling off the fears that blind us; focus on the hope that is of God. Expect to see Him who blesses us so abundantly. He is the god of the living, not of the dead. While we draw breath, there is always hope.
Memories (experiences) are a tool to remind us of God’s benevolence and surety. We haven’t lost him or his blessings. There’s more! He brought us this far and will not abandon us in the shallows. Go out into the depths. Live for the moment, for it will soon pass. Whether it brings praise or pain, wealth or health, food or fasting, family or friends– God is with us still.
Are you having a desert time? Are you in the hour of your life when you desire more from the Giver of life? That’s good! “Nurture our souls, Lord, as we thirst after you! May we pant after you as if our very lives depended upon it.”
Perhaps that is the reason for desert times–the times of shallowness of spirit–the dreadful fear that haunts our souls. With our tormented spirits, we scream, “I’ve lost you, God! Where are you, Lord?”
We’ve been too busy eating, drinking, and being merry. All too suddenly we look around the rubble of our lives and sense the Giver of life. Has it been so long that we looked upon him that we no longer see him? I wonder.