In the Office: Obey Your Thirst

What are you thirsting for these days?

In today’s Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, I’m given these words:

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Psalm 42:1-2

I’ve long loved these words (and being of a generation that grew up on a certain strand of praise and worship music, I have sung them over and over and over again). And yet, if I allow them to challenge me a bit, they invite me to ask: Do I thirst for God as the deer pants for streams of water?

I thirst and long for things, to be sure. I thirst for our nation’s political discourse to regain some semblance of civility. I thirst for guidance about various life decisions. I thirst for certain friends and church members to receive comfort and healing and strength. I thirst for my congregation to be filled with God’s Spirit so that we can expand the embrace of God’s kingdom within us, among us and beyond us. And I am keenly aware – that ultimately – only God can satisfy these longings.

But I wonder: Is thirsting for them the same as thirsting for Him?

We face the constant danger, it seems, of “misplacing” our desire for God amid our desires for all the things that God provides and does. And while I don’t tend to think that God “judges us harshly” for this failure (He understands our weaknesses, after all) – I do think that He wants to give us something so much better than the comfort and the guidance and the blessings that He so graciously provides. He wants to give us Himself. And perhaps it is only there – resting in His presence and grace – that our deepest thirsts are quenched.

A. W. Tozer once wrote: “O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.”

Amid all the things we long for today, may our core thirst be for God. And may we discover (as so many have) that He becomes “a spring within, gushing fountains of endless life” (John 4:14 – The Message).

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