As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. Psalm 42:1
I must be honest.
There are many things I desire. Friendships that bring me joy, a family that operates in love, and financial security are on my shortlist. This doesn’t include my desire for a new pair of shoes, a homecooked meal from my mother (who lives 10 hours away), nor my weekly need for a chocolate-filled dessert. Many times, I’m willing to go out of my way to attain these “things. Even a food craving will lead me to pile seven children in a car and doing a complete grocery trip- for just one moment of satisfaction.
Yet, when I encounter Psalm 42:1, I ask myself, “Do I long for Jesus in the same way?” Am I willing to pause everything just for him? Do I think of Him in the morning or talk to Him throughout my day? When I ask myself these questions, I’m faced with my own spiritual deficit. Though longing for Jesus should always be my heart cry, I often miss the mark. Trapped between my own fleshly desires and the need to be in control, there are many moments Jesus becomes an afterthought rather than my first love.
The word “longing” in Psalm 42:1 goes beyond a momentary want. The original meaning of the word used by the psalmist is “to cry out.” In other words, the one who “longs” cries out for what they need and is in desperate for the object of their affection. When the psalmist says, “as the deer longs for the streams of water” this imagery is not a fleeting desire of an animal. Instead, the psalmist is keenly aware the deer cannot sustain himself without water. Having water once a week or when times get tough is not enough. For a deer, water is needed several times throughout the day. So much so, that mature deer make their homes close to small water sources so that they can always be in close proximity of this basic need.
This verse is a reminder that the Lord is the source of our strength, rejuvenation, and spiritual nourishment. He has no desire for us to be thirsty Christians in need of refreshing. Only seeking Him on occasion or when we are feeling spiritually depleted is not enough. Instead, like the deer, He wants us to camp out in His presence and see Him as our resting place. Our soul’s desire should be to remain in a continual state of seeking Him. Through prayer, worship, studying His Word, we refresh ourselves in the streams of His presence.
Today, I can’t help but imagine how different our world would be if the followers of Christ would all long for Jesus. This personal longing for Christ would strengthen our faith and cause us to operate in God’s love in a deeper way.
Without a doubt, the testimony of how God would move in our personal lives and communities would draw people to our Savior. Yet, it starts with us making a choice to seek God above all else. Although we can certainly desire the things of this world like a great career, finances, or even our favorite meal, we know that all these things are momentary. In time, they will all change or fade away completely. But our God remains the same. Never changing and always present for His creation now and until the end of time. May our soul cry out for the one who has all the answers, knows all the plans, and provides all the resources. He alone is enough.
Dear Lord, I pray for a great refreshing to come over my life. I ask that you deepen my desire for your word and your presence. I ask for forgiveness for the many times I sought the things of this life more than I sought you. Lord, I long for your truth to invade my mind, will, and emotions. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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** Excerpts from the above article originally written by Victoria Riollano on ibelieve.com**