Do you ever find yourself longing for something that isn’t?
Perhaps you wish you could get back what has already come and gone.
The infant days of a challenging child. A pain free body. Sweetness in your marriage. The presence of a loved one no longer here. The closeness of a familiar community. Fellowship of a friendship lost.
Or maybe you long for a time that is yet to be.
Lifelong companionship in marriage. The laughter of children in your home. Your dream job. The end of a challenging parenting season. No more anxious, sleepless nights. Safe return of a husband stationed overseas.
My friend, it is good to remember the past with fondness. To be grateful for the joys of a season past. It is also okay to want change when things aren’t quite right. Or eagerly anticipate future pleasure.
As long as our desires don’t get out of hand. Don’t eclipse our deepest desire; our longing for God.
Psalm 42:1-2 reads:
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
Here the psalmist creates for us a vivid picture of what longing for God looks like.
Take a few minutes to go ahead and read the rest of Psalm 42.
This author is not writing from a place of calm and comfort. His life is in turmoil. His soul is in despair. He can remember a time when life was enjoyable. Now, though, he wants things to be different than they are.
But he chooses – makes a deliberate effort – to turn his thoughts toward God. The One he knows is the rock he can cling to in any storm.
To encourage his own longing for God, he creates for himself the image of a deer, running through the woods, panting for water. Searching out the cool refreshment it desperately needs. When found, that water will soothe, refresh, revitalize the fainting deer.
Just as the deer cannot go on – will not survive – without water, your soul cannot weather the changing seasons without the sustenance of the living God.
Though memories of the past are sweet, and anticipating a better future is pleasant, neither one holds the hope your soul craves.
More than once, the psalmist reminded himself to hope in God. In his current situation. In the turmoil and the despair. Through the memories and the expectation, he trained his heart to long for God. The living God who alone could soothe, refresh, revitalize his fainting soul.
Next time you find yourself wishing you could return to the past or yearning to leap ahead, remember the deer who pants for water. Choose to turn your thoughts toward God, the living God who will meet you and sustain you in your current situation.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~ James 4:8
Abi is an ordinary wife and mom serving an extraordinary God. She spends her days loving her husband and keeping up with their 5 colorful, noisy kids. At the end of the day she looks forward to a quiet walk or a warm cup of tea and a good book. Abi blogs at Joy In My Kitchen to inspire you to glorify God and enjoy life with your family. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
If you would like to see more from Abi, you can find her free Bible study that reveals your identity in Christ. “You are…” is a powerful way to dive deep into the Scriptures to fill those longings for God. You can find a preview of “You are…” here.
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