Thirsty For Life

I’ve been feeling somewhat sick the past few days. Nothing serious. I didn’t have to miss work or anything. After a few days of it though, and reading most of the day on Saturday, I felt completely drained. I went home to watch TV for a while to let my brain relax and after about an hour I got up to get some water, and then out of nowhere I got light-headed and had to brace myself on the wall as I made my way to the kitchen. I remember thinking that the last time I felt anything like this was in December after I finished the Dallas Half Marathon.

Over thirteen miles. Finally, verification that I must be crazy. I ran the first five or so in what felt like 95% humidity. I had water with me, and there were water stops along the route, but by that point I was so dehydrated and out of energy I had to start walking and jogging to be able to finish. Every step forward was completely earned, and in defiance of all my good judgment telling me to sit down on the sidelines and wait for a van, an ambulance, a three year old on a tricycle — anything with wheels. By the time I finished, my iPhone Nike+ app told me that, including the tangents, I’d run 14.1 miles. A mile longer than the actual race distance.

I crossed the finish line with what I felt were legs of jelly and made my way inside to get my things and head to the car. No after party for this runner on that day. After walking at least another half mile to get to my car after getting my things, I drove home. It was probably more dangerous than I wanted to admit, but death probably seemed a viable alternative to feeling every muscle in my body in complete and utter shambles.

I made it home after downing a large bottle of Gatorade on the way. Somehow, I made it up the stairs to my front door. I should have just gone to my mom’s house–no stairs there. I fumbled with the keys and opened the door and headed straight to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water. It might have taken me all of thirty seconds to drink the whole bottle. I could barely stand, but after running, jogging, walking, and what felt like crawling over 14.5 miles, even I knew I couldn’t wait until after a nap to take a shower.

I was so thirsty that I kept cupping shower water into my hands and drinking it, and I HATE the taste of city water. That’s when the real meaning of Psalm 42:1 became clear.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.

Christian culture has so commercialized this verse by putting it on coffee cups and t-shirts that the only image and meaning I had was like seeing Bambi trot up to a stream and take a drink before running off to play with Thumper. But that’s not it at all. This verse is one of desperation.

We see that in the verses that follow:

2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

The Psalmist is so desperate for God that he hasn’t even been eating because those around him keep asking him where God is. He is completely reliant on God to give him life as the deer is reliant upon the water to sustain its life. He is so broken apart from God’s presence that he cries all day.

Yes, he does admonish and encourage himself a few verses later. But the encouragement is directed at the source of his mourning. He remembers when he used to lead the people in praise to God, and the fact that he is removed from the presence of God for a time crushes him, but he reminds himself to “hope in God” for he will praise Him again.

When was the last time you felt desperately reliant on God? When was the last time that not feeling His presence near really affected you? When was the last time you reminded yourself that He is your salvation even when you don’t feel it?

Or do you, like so many of us, get caught up in the busyness of life and barely notice the silence of the Spirit?

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