magine trudging through the desert, depleted of water and food. Suddenly an oasis of palm trees encircling a pool of fresh cold water appears. Your pace quickens. You finally reach the pool and lunge in only to be welcomed by a bed of hot sand.
Most thirst is not what a genuinely thirsty person experiences. Their mouth is parched and their lips cracked. Anxiety is heightened. Prolonged water deprivation is deadly.
God has created in humans a longing for spiritual nourishment parroting our physical need for fluids. Nothing short of a relationship with him satisfies (Romans 1:21-25).
The psalmist illustrates this need by referencing a deer panting for water then confesses he is experiencing such a thirst: My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:2) Adversity intensified his thirst and prevented its satisfaction. He was discouraged, sad and felt forsaken by God.
Life events can be devastating: divorce, job loss, financial ruin, natural disasters, faltering health. Then we get thirsty, discouraged or even depressed. We look for something to fill the void, and discover some things satisfy while others don’t.
Prayer, Bible study and relationships with other believers are acceptable ways to satisfy our longings. These and other spiritual disciplines soothe our craving to know more about Christ and help us enter a deeper relationship with him.
The psalmist’s hope must be ours. Otherwise we long for things that destroy health and emotional well being. Addictive substances. Unhealthy relationships. God controls the circumstances, but we control our response. Only he can lift our veils of despair, enabling us to see events through his lenses.
God never forgets us even though we may feel he has. Opposition, adversity, discouragement, and roller coaster emotions can intensify feelings but don’t change the reality of God’s continual involvement in our life’s details. Beware of looking in the wrong places to satisfy your thirst.
Prayer: Lord, when we’re tempted to trust in other things besides You, remind us where genuine fulfillment is found.