As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Where can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 61)
You can almost picture the doe, beginning to feel panicky to find water, any water. Her tongue is swollen and feels like dust. She pants for a brook, a creek, a pond. Somewhere to quench her thirst.
We Californians know what it's like to have years of drought. In the wooded countryside where I live, we hadn't seen deer for several years. But this year, after the rains, a young buck and a young doe are again grazing the trees and shrubs near our home. There's water again.
Have you ever felt like the thirsty doe? We can have a good job, strong family, and even a strong emotional support system, and still be thirsty in our souls. You can put all the food in the world in front of a deer, but unless it has water, the food is superfluous.
For we humans, that water is an ongoing friendship with Jesus. He satisfies us deep within, even when everything else is in turmoil.
"Where can I go and meet with God?" the Psalmist inquired. Though I've heard people say they worship God on the golf course, I wonder. They're getting a physical and mental refreshment there, but worship?
A year or so ago, when I was deeply discouraged, I found myself asking God, "What am I doing here, anyway?" Pastors can get discouraged, too. The Lord spoke to me so clearly I'll remember it always: "I have called you to create an environment in which I can work." A church, a local congregation.
What an awesome calling!
That's what God wants the Church to be: an environment in which He can work in our lives. I can recall many occasions when I have sat in church or in a Christian conference I was attending, and as the meeting went on I found God speaking to me. Questions I had been wondering about, problems I had pondered suddenly began to resolve themselves. Often it had nothing at all to do with what the pastor or leader was saying.
It's humbling, but true. On many occasions someone will come up to me and say, "Pastor, that was the most wonderful thing you said this morning." When I inquire what I said, I often don't recognize it. While the Spirit of God was helping me to bring a message to the people, the Spirit was bringing personalized messages all over the congregation. This was an environment in which God was working.
I long to see that atmosphere in which God can work become more and more powerful in our congregation, and in congregations all across our land. Because where God is at work, our thirst is quenched, our dry spells are alleviated, and our soul is refreshed.
Are you thirsty? Good. I know a place to find water. Try coming to meet Jesus this Sunday with your family.