in pursuit of critical and compassionate living and thought. in surrender to courage & delight of Christ.

Psalm 42: Hope & Longing

We think of “thirsting for God” in times of exuberance and delightful devotion. We seem to use it to describe those times in our life when our faith is “on fire” and we have deep, passionate longing for Christ. But its a term of the times of loss, dryness, desperation, despair. The psalmist who declares, “as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God,” describes the situation of a deer who cannot find the stream. Who walks the wild forest in circles upon circles, passing the same hard rocks and dizzying tangles of trees in vain. And with each turn like a promise failed, frustration becomes discomfort, and begets doubt. And he begins to turn memories of previous good guidance over and over and over in his mind till they are like blunt, stripped keys in a door’s lock.

“Where is your God?” the trees mock.
“When can I go and meet with You?” he asks.
“You are a fool,” howls the wind.
“Why have you forgotten me, God?” he silently cries.

And then wilted and weary in search of the living water, he forgets what it is even that he thirsts. “Why, my soul, are you downcast?”


These are the feelings of pain, hurt, confusion, and longing.
The difficulty is not walking into the trap of contradicting our own hope. Our hope is not blind. It is built on a foundation of steadfast faithfulness, revelation, and promises tried and tested like a well worn path. The call is to remember and continue walking. Pursue the living water, even while you grow faint. You will not fail to find it.

When your bones are dry, and you hear the waterfall through a door you cannot find, take to the one word that sharpens that key – “yet” – as the psalmist does in one last declaration, “My soul, put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”


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This entry was posted on October 12, 2016 by in faith, Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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