Hi everyone! Some of you may remember that I used to write a weekly feature called FaiTHoughts. I would share a thought or two on a recent sermon I had heard or a book I was reading. A word or two of encouragement, sometimes a thought provoking idea. In this new year, I’ve decide to begin writing FaiTHoughts again, but on a less rigorous schedule. Rather than weekly, they’ll be coming whenever I feel I have something of value to say, monthly perhaps.
Recently, one of our pastors spoke about being thirsty, using Psalm 42 as a backdrop for his remarks: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Can you feel the psalmist’s longing for the quenching of his thirst? At the same time that he expresses his thirst, he recognizes that only one thing will do–the living God himself. He’s like the marathon runner who after 10 miles, badly needs a drink. He recognizes that his body is crying out for water, and he knows that if he just continues running the route, someone will soon hand him a cup filled with it. In the same way, the psalmist clearly knows what he needs–God, the living water himself.
But my pastor noted that while we all thirst, some of us are unaware of the one thing that will truly satisfy our soul. Human nature leads us to “always look for relief from our unmet thirsts and desires,” my pastor explained. We look to food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, other relationships, exercise, our jobs, blogging, you name it, to quench our inner longing for happiness. Can I get a witness?!! God has been working on my “drugs” of choice–food and shopping–for years now. Why do I think pastry or something new and pretty will satisfy my deepest longings? I guess because we do get an initial “high” from these experiences, but it doesn’t last for long, does it? The thing is, I know the remedy for my soul-thirst. It’s Jesus. He told the woman at the well that “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:14). Imagine that.
People say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Stop Listening to the Unbelievers
How do we go about ensuring that we receive the daily “water” our souls long for? As we continue to read Psalm 42, we learn that all day long the psalmist listens to men question God (verse 3). Can you imagine the atmosphere, perhaps not so dissimilar from the atmosphere many of us experience? Where God’s name is taken in vain. Where faith is both questioned and ridiculed. To combat this doubting spirit and instead “water” our souls, we can fill our minds with truth, whether by thinking on scripture we’ve memorized, praying silently, singing/humming spiritual songs, and/or talking with other believers, if possible. We must begin listening to the Spirit of God and godly men, rather than the spirit of an unbelieving world, or we will remain barren and dry.
I used to go to the house of God…
with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
Connect Other Believers-Connect with God
The writer of the psalm also tells us that he remembers a time in his life when he joined in with a festive throng headed to the house of God (church) for a praise and worship party (verse 4). Turn away from the cares of the world or whatever it is that keeps you away, and turn to the thirst-quenching fellowship you can experience with other believers. Whether you study God’s word together, spend time in prayer, or simply enjoy leisure time in one another’s company, God’s Spirit will fill you up and satisfy your thirsty heart.
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Put Your Hope in God
And finally, the psalmist encourages us to put our hope in God (verse 5). Anyone who has ever experienced hope knows just how soul-filling it can be. It is as if you’ve been treading water for hours and finally you are able to put your foot down and feel the ocean floor. You can stand, you’re alright, everything is going to be okay. But how does one acquire hope? In his downcast, perhaps depressed state, he says “I will praise him.” There’s something distinctly powerful about the act of praise, that is, humbling yourself before God and telling him who He is to you. Thanking him for who he is and all he’s done uniquely positions us to receive power and strength and ultimately hope from the Lord. The psalmist also reminds himself of the importance of remembering God (verse 6). Remembering what God has already done for us is another sure way to build hope in our hearts when it is lacking.
If you sense in your soul a longing to know God or to know him better,
I’d love to chat with you! Leave a comment, email me,
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Bye for now,