As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:1-5
This is another passage that I have been looking forward to arriving at like psalm 23. The image of a thirsty deer panting for water is so vivid and poignant. I must admit I am somewhat convicted by it. When was the last time my spiritual “tongue” was hanging out of my mouth because my soul was thirsty for God? Why is it so easy to ignore our spiritual thirst?
Our physical hungers and thirsts overwhelm our spiritual ones. Perhaps this is the reason so many religions have sought ways to separate the earthly from the spiritual…chanting, meditation, rosary beads…all of these are attempts to separate the secular and spiritual worlds. The noisy demands of our earthly bodies have a hard time competing with the more gentle whispers of our souls.
Deep down our souls are thirsty for God, the living God – “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”. What is meant by the living God? Perhaps this is to differentiate God from all the idols and symbols that we put up to replace the God who sees us but who we sometimes cannot see. The God who loves us is not dead, as the recent movie “God’s not dead” proclaimed. The God who loves us is a living and breathing God who believes in us!
“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”” Following God unconditionally is not a Hallmark card full of warm and fuzzy aphorisms. It is a heart wrenching journey not for the feint of heart, but the longer I live the more I am convinced that it is the only journey worth taking. As Robert Frost so eloquently stated:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The road of following the way of God is hard “my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” Yet it is the only road worth taking — the road less traveled.
Prayer: God it is sometimes hard and confusing to follow and seek after You — Our earthly bodies get in the way. Help us to choose wisely and follow You on the road less traveled.