1 Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
my whole being craves you, God.
2 My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
When will I come and see God’s face?
3 My tears have been my food both day and night,
as people constantly questioned me,
“Where’s your God now?”
4 But I remember these things as I bare my soul:
how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode,
to God’s own house,
with joyous shouts and thanksgiving songs—
a huge crowd celebrating the festival!
5 Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
Why are you so upset inside?
Hope in God!
Because I will again give him thanks,
my saving presence and my God.
Maybe it is easy to question, Where are you, God? In the middle of a crisis, with storms that rage and social unrest, non-believers and believers alike thirst for a benevolent being – someone! anyone! – to come to our rescue. In the privacy of our hearts, we often question God. When we do not sense the positive response that we are expecting from God, we can’t help but be disheartened. Just as the Psalmist recognized long ago, we swing from songs of thanksgiving to the throes of depression. In the midst of our longing, we hunger and thirst for a god whom we want to show up on our terms. The only problem is, that’s not God. That’s just god.
I wonder, how long has God been waiting for us to show up on God’s terms? Since God has been here all along, isn’t it possible that our Savior waits for our sustained presence through prayer? Perhaps God waits for us to prayerfully listen, so as to be in community with God’s own self. Despite our waning feelings, we are fortunate that we follow a redeeming God who continues to watch over us. We follow a loving God who embraces us even if we doubt. So we will continue to prayerfully listen and hope for God with a capital G. We will continue to long for God, just as the deer longs for water in the forest.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
In the stillness of the forest, the deer searches for water. She quietly trusts that she will find it. If the animals can trust that God will sustain their lives, can we not trust that God will also be here for us?
We have the need to remain hopeful, even when we do not sense God surrounding us. When do you find it hardest to sense God’s presence? What are the spiritual practices that most sustain you in your trust and belief in the God of the Bible – God with a capital G?
Prayer: Holy God, we long for you! Yet sometimes we doubt. Sometimes we are saddened when we cannot sense your holy presence, but we know that you are our Redeemer and Sustainer. Help us to hear your voice, your real voice, that we may in turn live life on your terms. Amen.