Thirsty for God
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2, NRSV)
Ever felt thirsty? Really thirsty? Perhaps after a stint of hard work in the garden or after a lazy relax by the holiday pool? At such moments, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for a long, refreshing, cold drink. My, how it does you good! And God says: That’s how I want you to be with Me. To be thirsty for Me; and then to drink of Me until you’re satisfied and you know it’s done you good.
That’s the sort of thirst reflected in our verses today. The psalmist was desperately thirsty for God; he wanted Him, longed for Him more than anything else; and there was something within Him that wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d drunk his fill. But, of course, such thirst for God can only grow if we’ve settled our priorities. It goes without saying that there are other important things in life – family, work, friends; but the challenge is: what is the most important thing to us? Get that right, and everything else follows. As Jesus put it, "Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well" (Matthew 6:33).
God is looking for us to abandon our lives to Him, to come to the point where we say, "You are the most important thing in life to me! You are what I am most thirsty for. Everything else is insignificant in comparison to You.’ This means being ready to let go of things that have taken up the most precious places in our hearts, and becoming "detached from other attachments, whether they are addictive, habitual, enslaving or just plain fascinating" (James Houston). Or, to put that in a prayer of a former time: "Take from us, O God, the care of worldly vanities; make us content with necessaries" (Edmund Grindal, 1519-83, Chaplain to King Edward VI and Archbishop of Canterbury).
Knowing God’s intimate presence begins as we start to be thirsty for it and thirsty for Him. What are you thirsty – truly thirsty – for today?
God, you are my God. I search for you. I thirst for you like someone in a dry, empty land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NCV)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont