As the deer pants for the water so my soul needs You Lord / We're thirsty God, You're the living water / And my soul needs You Lord / I need You Lord, need You Lord
I don't know about you, but for me some of the times I feel closest to God are times when I'm desperately longing for Him, my need for Him becomes abundantly clear and I'm reminded that nothing will satisfy me but Him. That's exactly the place the lyric of Tori Kelly's song, "Psalm 42" is coming from.
#1. God is our satisfaction.
I'm a stranger here / Thirsty 'cause I know it's not my home / Like a desert here / I need Your living Word for these dry bones / Jesus fill us up again / With Your presence flowing deep within / New life begins
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
Sometimes we are so prone to look for satisfaction and fuel for life in the things of this world and we forget that this world can't satisfy us, only God can. Of course we know that looking for satisfaction in ways that don't agree with God's Word will give us pleasure for a moment but then leave us feeling empty. When it comes to the good things in this world, God can and does use those things to refresh us and encourage us.
Recreation, relationships with people, work that helps others and keeps God's world functioning and things of that nature are all good, godly things when expressed the way God designed. They are gifts from God to us, but even those good things still have a limit. They're meant to be embraced in addition to abiding in God, not in place of abiding in Him. This world can't meet our spiritual hunger, refresh our souls when we are weary, give us peace when we are burdened, or give us strength for life the way God can. Ultimately, there's satisfaction and sustenance that can only be found in God and His presence.
In Psalm 42, which inspired this song, the psalm writers were longing for the presence of God because they were separated from the house of God, the center of Israel's worship where the sacrifices and celebration of God's character and deeds took place. (Psalm 42:1-2) Because of Jesus, God's presence now lives in every believer through the Holy Spirit and we have access to Him all the time in any place. (Ephesians 1:13-14) We can, however, allow our hearts to become separated from Him in the sense that we get distracted from actually spending time with the One who lives in us and leaning into His strength as we live our lives. I know I do that.
The thirst and longing we feel when we've been living in our own strength, not His, is a reminder of our need for Him. The emptiness and hunger we feel when we haven't been spending time in God's presence through His Word, prayer, worship, fellowship with His people, and making Him known to others is a reminder for us to go to back to God, our source. It's our spirit longing for Him.
My prayer is that God would help me to live with that kind of thirst and longing for Him every day because getting to know how amazing He is and seeing Him work in my life makes me want to experience Him even more, not only in the moments where my distraction gets me off course. Is that your prayer too?
#2. God is our hiding place.
There's a quiet place / That gives me peace when I'm alone with You / There's a hiding place / Your Spirit's always there when I'm confused
Life throws all kinds of circumstances at us, doesn't it? We face problems and trials and spiritual battle. Responsibilities weigh us down. Big decisions confuse us and worry us. We become tired from the grind of life.
One of the things I love about Psalm 42 in the Bible is that it is set in the context of enemies coming against God's people and their need for His protection and intervention. They considered God's presence to be not only the satisfaction their souls longed for but also a place of refuge when the stuff of life came against them.
We will face all kinds of seasons, circumstances and emotions in life and in the midst of those things God's presence is a place of refuge, a hiding place, where we can find rest and refreshing and cry out for His help in our lives. Do you run to God when you're facing hard things, leaning into His strength? Seeking counsel in His Word? Asking for His help in prayer? Praising Him for who He is and refocusing your heart on truth? God is our source of comfort, strengthandhelp when the "enemies" of life come against us.
Quench our hearts and fill this space with Heaven like a flood / Holy One reign down on us with Your consuming love
Is God the one that you thirst for and long for more than anything? Is His presence Your hiding place and source of joy? We were made for God and His presence to be the number one desire andpursuit of our lives. (Psalm 27:4) Just like Tori sings in this song, in every moment of life let your cry be "I need You Lord."
"Psalm 42" can be found on Tori Kelly's latest album, Hiding Place. Listen on iTunes and Spotify. Read the full lyrics of "Psalm 42" here.
NRT contributor Jasmin Patterson is a lifelong fan of Christian music who is passionate about helping others connect with Christ. She lives in Kansas City where she serves in college ministry and runs a blog to help seekers and believers discover and live biblical Christianity.
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